2011 Orioles Projections: Luke Scott

The initial team projections are posted here. A more thorough walkthrough of how I put the individual ones together is in the Matt Wieters post here. The components I’m looking for are playing time (plate appearances), batting line (BA/OBP/SLG), and fielding.

Today we’re looking at the Orioles’ “new” left-fielder; Luke Scott.

Playing Time:

Since coming over to Baltimore and becoming a full-time starter (more or less), Luke has been pretty consistent with the playing time; 536 PA, 506 PA, 517 PA. He’ll sit every now and again, and maybe go on the DL for a stretch. 525 plate appearances fits right in there.

Batting:

Scott is one of the more patient guys on the team, and has upped his walk rate every season as an Oriole (and that’s with decreasing intentional walk totals). His career rate is 11.2%, but I’d go a little lower at 10.5%.

His strike-out rate has been above average throughout his career, though not outlandishly high. A 23% fits in with his career 22.9% and is just a bit higher than his recent seasons overall (though it was 23.2% in 2009).

Luke generally lifts the ball a fair bit, and his home run per flyball rate has jumped in Baltimore (from 14% to 16.7% to 18.6%). The weighted average for those years is 16.8%, though I’ll split the difference between that and his career rate (15.5%) and go with an even 16%. That would leave Luke in his usual range, with 24 home runs.

Scott’s BABIP increased from .280 and .283 to .304 last year, which is more in line with his career rate (.300 now). His expected BABIPs over that time indicate that the latter is closer to what it should be than the former, and I’ll lean a little more in that direction as well with a .295 BABIP for 2011. That would give Luke 100 none home run hits, with 27 doubles and 1 triple.

So now we’ve got all the components. 124 hits in 470 at bats is a .264 batting average. Add 55 walks (and a couple HBP) for a .345 on-base percentage. Slugging would be .479.

A .264/.345/.479 line would make Scott around 11 runs above average with the bat in 2011. He had a great season in 2010, but that was likely a career year for Luke.

Fielding:

Though it’s looking like he’ll be the primary left-fielder this season, Luke should still get a few plate appearances at DH. Let’s say a 450 PA, 75 PA split. In the outfield, it seems like Scott didn’t often get enough credit for his fielding. His defensive numbers are all above average (+6 UZR/150 in left, +9 DRS/150, +5 TZ/150), but he hasn’t seen much time out there since 2008 and so I’d think it would be safe to call him a little below average at this point; say, -3 runs for a full season.

WAR:

Adding it up, Luke would be at about 2.1 Wins Above Replacement in 2011. That’s a little over a half win improvement for Scott over what he’d put up with the same stats but as a DH. It also makes 5 out of 6 O’s that I’ve looked at so far with WAR of 2 or just above (Derrek Lee was lower, but if he stays healthy he can hit 2+ as well) – the battle for Orioles’ 2011 MVP might be wide open.

Let me know how you think Luke Scott will do next year here.


Stats: BB% & K%, FB%, HR/FB%, BABIP, wRAA, UZR, DRS, Total Zone, WAR