The Rays are bringing back designated hitter Luke Scott with the hope he can improve upon his 2012 season, but you can’t fault those who lack their optimism. After all the 34-year-old Scott hit .229 with a .724 OPS last season in 344 plate appearances, while also spending 50 days on the disabled list (due to back and oblique injuries). This followed a disappointing 2011 season in which he missed nearly 100 games with a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Under normal circumstances ignoring a large chunk of a player’s season is faulty analysis. Scott’s shoulder surgery complicates matters, however, and when you compare Scott’s first half to the second half you can see traces of the hope the Rays are banking on
The crux of those first half struggles came on the inner half of the plate. On pitches that fell into this portion of the zone, he hit .154/.303/.308 in the first half. Here is the visual:
In the second half, Scott’s numbers improved across the board. The biggest improvement came in the same area he struggled with in the first half: the inner portion of the plate. He hit .304/.346/.522 on pitches located on the inner half after the All-Star Break. Here is the visual of that as well:
All the tradition disclaimers apply here. This could be nothing more than noise generated from a small sample. But there is a chance, perhaps a slim one, that Scott’s improvements—especially on the inner half—stemmed from improved range of motion in his shoulder. If that is the case, the Rays hope for Scott could prove fruitful in 2013.
Data and Images Courtesy of ESPN Stats and Info