Marco Scutaro: Second baseman for the San Francisco Giants, the "blockbuster trade" of 2012, NLCS MVP and one of the deadliest hitters in the majors last season.
Scutaro certainly has a lot to live up to. And with the Giants signing the veteran journeyman to a three-year, $20 million deal, the organization is investing time and money in the hopes he will continue to build upon his prior success.
Last season was not a fluke. Scutaro will return to form going into the 2013 season.
He fits right in with the team-first philosophy employed by the Giants, as well as their style of making contact, getting on base and moving runners over.
Plain and simple, Scutaro is a major league hitter.
Despite being passed around from team to team in his 11-year career—spending time with the New York Mets, Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies and finally the Giants—Scutaro has a reputation as an underrated hitter who knows how to play the game the right way.
He can play a lot of different positions and he gets big hits for you. He'll play a huge role; he always does. Every team he's on, he has a huge impact on that team.
Scutaro's primary selling point? His innate ability to make contact. And when you hit the ball as often as Scutaro, eventually those balls are going to find holes. Scutaro not only led all of MLB with a 92.5 percent contact rate last season, but he has earned the top spot in the same category over the past three seasons.
Critics may contend Scutaro was a one-season wonder in 2012; however, to do so is to ignore another one of Scutaro's principle assets: his consistency.
While he exploded offensively in San Francisco, batting .362 in 268 plate appearances, Scutaro's career has been nothing short of consistent. In 11 years of MLB service, Scuatro has accumulated a .276 batting average and 1,209 hits.
For his career, he strikes out once per 9.24 plate appearances. And he's only getting better. In 2012, Scutaro only struck out once every 12.7 plate appearances, good enough to lead the majors.
Scutaro's former teams are kicking themselves for not staying patient with the second baseman. He has never hit for much power during his MLB tenure, which may be one of the reasons he has largely been passed over year after year.
But the Giants don't need him to hit 30 home runs a year. They need him to get on base in order to give Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey opportunities for RBI.
They need his defensive prowess at second base to compliment and mentor their young shortstop, Brandon Crawford. They need his veteran experience and leadership in the clubhouse.
In this situation, both parties merge perfectly to create a truly symbiotic relationship. The Giants live or die using a combination of small-ball tactics and team chemistry. Scutaro is a team player who may not hit for power, but he hits with consistency and gets on base.
It's no wonder Scutaro has flourished thus far with San Francisco and will continue to do so over the next few years. 2012 was not a fluke; rather, it was an example of a player finally finding a home. A home he will remain a part of for at least three more years.
Next season, Marco Scutaro may not surpass the individual accomplishments he accumulated in 2012 for the world champion San Francisco Giants. However, he will continue to contribute and ultimately help his team win.