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Marco Scutaro Worth Every Penny

Generally speaking, the Red Sox fanbase seems to have a fairly lukewarm opinion on Marco Scutaro. There's certainly not a lot of Lugo-level hate for him, but at the same time there aren't a lot of t-shirt sales either. Aside from this little horror ...

... there's just not a ton of love for Scoot.

Maybe that shouldn't be surprising. His numbers are down from last year, and he's committed eleven errors. If Sox fans were expecting the exact same production as from 2009 then there's reason to be disappointed. But high expectations aside, so far Scutaro has been worth every penny.

Shortstop has been a difficult position for the Red Sox to fill for years. When it wasn't a stone glove (Edgar Renteria), it was a missing bat (Alex Gonzalez--and don't start talking about all his homers, the guy has a .696 career OPS and still can't manage an OBP over .300) or both (Julio Lugo). Now, in Scutaro, it seems they've finally found the sort of solid player they needed.

Above average both offensively and defensively for a shortstop, there's not a lot of complaining to do when it comes to Scutaro. While his offensive numbers have been very much up-and-down so far (currently down, thanks to a July slump), they've never gotten to the point where he has been a noticeable hole. He's also filling in at the leadoff spot very nicely in Jacoby Ellsbury's absence, with an all-important .381 OBP when leading off innings. Even at this lower point, he still ranks eighth amongst all shortstops in both OPS and wOBA. And the errors are made up for by his thus-far impressive range at shortstop, with advanced defensive statistics putting him around the tenth spot.

At a cost of just $5 million this year, the Red Sox have filled a seemingly unfillable hole on their team with a player who is one of the ten best at his position both at the plate, and in the field. A pretty good--no, a great deal by any accounting. He doesn't hit .300, he's not going to slug twenty homers, and he won't win any gold gloves. But he's certainly on the right side of average, and has done so playing through a dead muscle injury. For all that, he deserves more credit than he seems to be getting so far.