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July 1, 2010

Fantasy Beat

Scott Out And A Second Helping Of Pie

by Craig Brown

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With word that Luke Scott is likely to miss a couple of weeks after injuring his hamstring while running the bases on a home run trot, it looks like the Orioles will activate Felix Pie a little earlier than anticipated.

Pie had been on a minor league rehab assignment as part of his recovery from a torn muscle in his upper back.  On assignment, he has hit .379/.438/.414 in seven minor league games.  Earlier on Wednesday, Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said he would remain on his rehab assignment for “a few more games.”  Hours later, with Scott hurting, Pie was moving stuff back into his locker at Camden Yards.

With 590 career plate appearances spread through four seasons, Pie has never really been a factor over a full season in fantasy.  Part of that is because of a low contact rate coupled with a career walk rate of 8% which conspires to keep his on base percentage about 30 points below league average.  As frustrating as he has been, he did show some promise in the second half of last year, hitting .290/.346/.497 with seven home runs and 21 RBI in 162 plate appearances.  He was off to a hot start this year (yeah... a small sample size) where he collected eight hits in his first 20 at bats before landing on the DL.

He’s worth a flier in AL-only leagues.  With Scott likely headed to the DL, he'll get his chances and if the improvement he flashed in the second half of last season sticks, he could provide a nice value.

Meanwhile, Scott’s TAv of .287 is his highest since joining Baltimore prior to the ’08 season and his power numbers were improved from last year.  Through the first three months of the season, he owns a .247 ISO compared to a career mark of .233.  He’s long been a steady, if unspectacular, fantasy performer.  

Scott got off to a horribly slow start this year.  A large portion of that was because a subpar .224 BABIP he collected in the month of April.  Certainly, a large reason his batting average on balls in play was so low was due to the fact 20% of his fly balls didn’t even leave the infield.  Here are his top five at bat results from April:

Strikeout - 20%
Groundout - 20%
Flyout - 13.3%
Walk - 10.7%
Single - 8%

That’s nasty.  Especially for someone who is supposed to provide you with something in the neighborhood of 25 home runs.  

Fortunately, Scott went on a home run binge in May, bashing seven total.  His hot May, coupled with a respectable June (.293/.378/.537 with three HR in 98 PAs) have pushed his overall numbers to respectability.

Where Scott has let fantasy owners down this year has been in the RBI department.  Despite hitting in the middle of the Oriole lineup, he’s driven in 30 runs this year.  Subtract the 12 times he’s driven in himself and that’s just 18 runners he’s brought home.  (Of his 12 home runs, nine have come with the bases empty.)  Percentage-wise, Scott is driving in only 11% of all base runners and is hitting just .133/.203/.217 with runners in scoring position.  

Given his skills and where he is on the season, Scott would have been ideal trade fodder.  Unfortunately, your only option now is to stash him on your bench until we learn about the severity of his injury.
 

Craig Brown is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Craig's other articles. You can contact Craig by clicking here

Related Content:  Luke Scott

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