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Opening Day Countdown: Scooter Gennett #2


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I feel like people still don't understand what to make of Scooter Gennett. When he came up people were WAY too high on him. In 230 PA that first season he hit 324/356/479 and people lost their damn minds. You could not tell people he wasn't a secret super star. It didn't matter to them that he never hit lefties. And boy were they made when Rickie Weeks still shared playing time with him in 2014.

Then last year he struggled in his first month and it was like a rubber band snapping back. People were calling for him to be DFA'd. Even now people are calling for Yadiel Rivera, a guy (with all due respect) never hit in the minors, or Colin Walsh , a guy (with all due respect) that gets poor defensive grades and has yet to make his major league debut despite being older than Gennnett, to take his spot. So it's time, yet again, to take a look at what Scooter Gennett is and why you should be happy he's on the team.

First let's look at last year. It's undeniable that he started out poorly. In in April he hit 207/303/207 (27 wRC+). Then in May he hit 111/111/194 (-32 wRC+). That's crazy bad. So bad in fact he was demoted for a time. But you'd have to be crazy if you thought he was suddenly just the worst hitter in the history of baseball. And of course when he returned to the major league team he was a good deal better.

He hit 273/298/527 (115 wRC+) in June, 310/356/429 (107 wRC+) in July, 299/316/455 (106 wRC+) in August. That's pretty solid. He did crater again in Sept/Oct hitting just 266/281/319 (59 wRC+). But we're still talking about three good months and three bad months. It's uneven production, but that's kind of what you'd expect from an imperfect player, which Gennett very much is.

But imperfect does not mean bad. Scooter Gennett is not a bad baseball player. But he's not a full time starting regular either. He's a platoon player, which is what I've been saying since day one. I've also been telling you all that "platoon" is not a dirty word.

Over his major league career (976 PA) Scooter Gennett has hit 307/339/458 (115 wRC+) vs RHP. That's well above average production. And in fact, among second basemen with a minimum of 950 plate appearances Gennett ranks fifth. That's better than Ben Zobrist. That's better than Anthony Rendon. That's better than everyone at the position except Robinson Cano, Matt Carpenter (who is primarily a third baseman), Jason Kipnis, and Neil Walker.

Scooter Gennet isn't exactly gifted defensively. And he's never going to hit left-handed pitching. But he's excellent vs RHP pitching. That's not an opinion. That's an objective fact. And teams are always looking for complimentary players at the trade deadline. I don't view Gennett as a long term part of this team. But he could provide them with a nice trade chip in the near future. Because even if certain fans will never properly value him, major league baseball teams will.

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs