You’ve seen the splits on Luke Scott.
You know he was a viable candidate for first-half team MVP after batting .305 with 18 homers and 51 RBIs. You also know he fell apart in the second half, batting .208 with seven homers and 26 RBIs.
He’s always been a streaky hitter, but this is extreme.
So what happened?
“I think Luke put too much pressure on himself,” hitting coach Terry Crowley said. “Luke is the guy who wants to hit .400, he wants to hit 50 home runs. Don’t get me wrong, I want him to, also, but the game is not built like that. The game is a game of success and failures, and sometimes he lets the failures eat him up too much, instead of relaxing and looking at the bright side of things.
“One thing about Luke - I can take his streaks where he doesn’t get hits because he gets enough hits when he’s hot to just carry you on his back for a week. There are some guys who go into slumps for a long period of time, then they get hot and the hits don’t mean anything. Luke absolutely...when he’s hot, he carries you. And he can win six games in a week for you when he’s hot.”
Scott could go to arbitration, though he expected to sign a new contract this month when I talked to him earlier in the winter. I’m sure he’d focus on the first half at his hearing, while the Orioles would dwell on the second.
Scott’s left-handed power appeals to some teams, including the Orioles, but his inconsistency and defensive limitations make him a trade candidate. He figures to be the primary designated hitter if he stays. It’s easier to rotate Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold in that slot if he’s gone.
The Orioles could bring in a full-time DH, but only if they move Scott.
The odds probably favor him staying, but they change if a team suddenly makes a suitable offer. That’s hard to predict.
He’s certainly a good guy in the clubhouse. If only he could avoid those bad spells at the plate.