MANKATO — Mankato MoonDogs manager Mike Orchard isn't enamored by RBIs, saying the hitters with the most runs driven in are usually the ones with the most chances, buoyed by the ability of others to get on base.
But, he said, that doesn't diminish the effect that Levi Scott has on the MoonDogs' lineup.
"He always gives you good at-bats," Orchard said. "He's a presence in the lineup, a threat to hit the long ball. You can't have all pipsqueaks in the lineup, you need someone that makes it tough and makes the pitcher work."
Scott has been the MoonDogs' top run producer through 38 games, driving in 31 runs that puts him on pace to chase the team record of 61, set by Shaun Cooper in 2011, with 29 games remaining. Last season, Chase Simpson had 56 RBIs.
"It's important to go to the plate with a plan," Scott said. "I don't look for a certain pitch. If it's in the zone, I try to put a good swing on it and do my job."
As the cleanup hitter, Scott, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound first baseman from Texas-Arlington, benefits from the top of the MoonDogs' order. Leadoff hitter Tyler Sullivan is batting .362 with a .458 on-base percentage, Brett Synek is hitting .306 with a .473 OBP, and Peter Maris is hitting .338 with a .393 OBP.
But runners on base doesn't automatically mean RBIs, and it's an accomplishment to be tied for second in RBIs in the Northwoods League. There's something to being a clutch hitter.
"He's a quality RBI guy because he can hit all the pitches," Orchard said. "When you're hitting in that 3,4,5 spot, you're going to get tougher pitches."
Scott came to Mankato though Orchard's connections with the coaching staff at Texas-Arlington, the same path that brought John Michael Twichell to the MoonDogs for two summers.