Grading the Brewers: Scooter Gennett

Do you want to tell the kid he can’t fly? Photo: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

I saved this one for last, not just for personal reasons, but to prove a point.  Just because I have always been on the Scooter wagon, does not mean that I will just throw A’s at him.  Look at this article that I wrote back in 2011 about Scooter and try to tell me that I did not see his potential prior to this season.  I dare you.  But that has no bearing here. 

It has been well documented that I believe Gennett should be the every day 2nd baseman over Rickie Weeks.  You may also know that fellow writer Justin Schultz thinks that Scooter is an over-rated David Eckstein.  Here is what I know for sure, in 2013 Scooter was better than Rickie Weeks.  Will that be the case in 2014?  I don’t know.  Do I believe that will be the case? Yes.  Does that mean Gennett will get straight A’s?  No, because contrary to what my friend Justin thinks, I don’t believe Scooter is in the same league as Carlos Gomez or Jean Segura (both got A’s). 

Most people had never even heard of Gennett and most of us are still working on how to say his last name correctly.  Is it a hard or soft G?  Who knows.  But we do know that there are no other “Scooters” in major league baseball.  Most every Brewers fan knows who he is now though.  For a stretch of time, he was one of the hottest hitters in all of baseball.  Eventually he came back down to earth with a .324 batting average, 6 HR’s, and 21 RBI’s.  Now as someone who watched him develop through the farm system, I never envisioned him hitting 6 long balls in an entire season…let alone half of one. 

Enough foreplay.  I grade on 3 categories: Performance, Attitude, and Eye Test. 

Performance – B+

The impact he made offensively is undeniable.  His .356 On-base percentage was enough to turn him into a lead-off hitter, a role he shared with Aoki down the final weeks of the season.  My only real knock on Scooter is his lack of walks.  Even though is OBP was very high, he only walked 10 times in 213 at-bats.  Defensively he has a lot of room to improve.  There are not a lot of errors to look at, but you could tell that there were times when he was very uncomfortable.  If he can improve his defense and continue to grow as a hitter, he will be an All-Star in no time. 

 

Attitude – B

It is hard to make any real call on this one, since the guy is pretty quiet.  As far as I know he has no enemies and sort of keeps to himself.  Scooter has a quiet confidence, but there is nothing cocky or self-effacing about his demeanor.  Sometimes those are the best kind of leaders, the guys who do without saying.  You need a nice mix of these types on a championship caliber team.  There will always be a need for vocal leaders, but I do not suspect Gennett will ever be one of those.  He also shows minimal emotion, except for the occasional boyish smile. 

 

“Eye Test” – C+

Shocked, right?  The truth is, if I was a scout I would immediately discredit anything he did on the field because he is a tiny little morsel.  Standing at 5’8″ and weighing about 170 lbs. soaking wet, the guy looks like the biggest kid on a little league team.  So even though he is slightly above average in the field and well above average offensively, his size is quite concerning to my eyes.  Again, my eyes are not always right (Matt LaPorta is the best example I have, loved the guy…and he is terrible).  But if I saw him play, I would probably move on…purely based on his size. 

 

Overall Grade – B

A nice solid B.  Told you he wasn’t going to get an A.  There is no denying that he is an above average talent, who could help start the “youth movement” that I suspect this team is about to undergo.  It is interesting that the Brewers farm system has been under constant attack since the Zack Greinke trade, yet Khris Davis and Scooter Gennett were in the system at the time and have now made major contributions to the big league club.  Only goes to show that prospects are an inexact science.  If Scooter does not regress, I think he becomes our 2nd baseman of the future.  It will be interesting to see what the organization does with two capable starting 2nd baseman.  But in 2013, there is no doubt in my mind that Scooter Gennett was the better 2nd baseman.

Topics: Grading The Brewers, Milwaukee Brewers, Scooter Gennett

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  • William Gregory

    A pretty fair assessment, Lou. It’s hard to temper my enthusiasm where Ryan is concerned, because I just like the guy. He’s been told everywhere he’s been that he wouldn’t make it, and he’s proven them all wrong. He might lack the size, and the plus tools scouts drool over, but he’s a fundamentally sound player that can hit, and given the opportunity to play every day at the end of the season, he’s proven he can produce at the Major League level. Granted, it was a small sample size (230 plate appearances), but he hit for average, and more power than anybody could have predicted.

    I, too, thought Scooter would exceed a lot of expectations. He’s hit at every level throughout the minors. The biggest negative with Scooter seemed to be his lack of OPS upside potential. I can’t tell you how many times I read “his OBP is entirely driven by his batting average, and he has no extra base hit pop. Besides his average, he offers little to nothing else”. While it’s true that he needs to work on increasing his walk rate, especially if he is to stay near the top of the batting order, I think Ryan’s extra base hit potential surprised a lot of people. I live in Texas, and was watching when Scooter jacked one of his two home runs to the second deck in right field. I don’t think he’ll ever hit more than ten home runs in a season, but he doesn’t have to. He’s got slightly above average speed, but very good instincts. He’s got enough pop in his bat where he can rack up the doubles and some triples. And given the option between Weeks and Gennett, I’d take Scooter right now. Rickie has clearly regressed as a hitter. A career .255 hitter entering the 2012 season, he’s hitting just .222 over the last two seasons. While he still walks a good deal, his power production has fallen off quite a bit. His isolated power between 2010 and 2011 was .197. The last two seasons, it’s .162. And even his OBP has fallen. Between 2010 and 2011, he had a well above league OBP (.360 vs .331 league). The last two seasons he is below league average (.320 vs .332 league). His OPS of .825 between 2010 and 2011 has fallen to .703 between 2011 and 2012. His slash line last season was awful: .209 AVG/.306 OBP/.357 SLG/.663 OPS.

    Gennett’s .834 OPS surprised many, and I don’t expect he’ll match that next season. But if he can improve his performance against left handed pitchers, there’s no reason to think that he can’t be a productive (and inexpensive) second baseman for the Brewers.

    The only question is…will the Brewers give Gennett the chance? Rickie Weeks is scheduled to make a team high $11 million in 2014, and I can’t believe they will have a guy making that much sit on the bench. Roenicke might choose to platoon the two (Weeks hit .226 against lefties, .201 against righties).

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  • oh Hal

    I don’t get the defensive grade. He made a couple rookie mistakes but was otherwise outstanding.