Milwaukee Brewers Option 2B Scooter Gennett to AAA
After losing two out of three games over the weekend to the New York Mets, the 13-25 Milwaukee Brewers have made a somewhat surprising roster mover early this morning. After going 0-10 over the weekend series, the Brewers have optioned starting second baseman Scooter Gennett to AAA Colorado Springs. In his place, the Brewers have recalled RHP Corey Knebel.
This season has been nothing short of a nightmare for the 25 year old Gennett, who has been unable to get anything going at the plate after being handed the starting second baseman job in the offseason, following the departure of Rickie Weeks. Scooter has managed just a .154/.203/.200 batting line this season in 69 plate appearances, good (?) enough for an OPS+ of 10 and a wRC+ of -1 (100 is league average for both). Gennett, who has a history of futility against lefties, had failed to get a hit off one in 12 plate appearances this year. Scooter’s only extra base hit this season has been his one home run, and he has struck out in 27.5% of his plate appearances. In 11 games since coming off the disabled list after slicing his hand in the shower, Gennett has hit just .111/.111/.194.
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Since being called up in 2013, Gennett has been a solid regular for the Brewers. He hit a combined .300/.331/.449 with a wRC+ of 113 through his first two seasons in the big leagues, which combined with solid defense at the keystone, made Gennett worth 3.8 fWAR while earning roughly the league minimum. Struggling both offensively and defensively (-2 defensive runs saved so far this season), the move to option Scooter could have been an attempt at a wakeup call from the front office. In my opinion, Gennett came off as a little arrogant in interviews this offseason when asked about taking over everyday at second base. As our friends over at Brew Crew Ball noted this morning, the Brewers sent down a struggling 24 year old Rickie Weeks back in 2007 after struggling to start the season. After a 10 day stint at AAA, Weeks was back in the majors and hit .273/.442/.553 for the rest of the season. Could Gennett experience a similar bounceback?
With the Brewers starting an interleague series against the 23-15 Detroit Tigers, the use of a DH will allow Milwaukee to carry an extra pitcher on the roster, allowing Corey Knebel to take Gennett’s place on the 25 man roster. Knebel was originally a first round pick by the Tigers in 2013, and came to the Brewers this past winter from the Rangers in the Yovani Gallardo trade. Knebel made his major league debut last season for Detroit, pitching in 8.2 innings and striking out 11 batters. Knebel had been working as the Sky Sox closer this season, saving six games in 16 appearances, giving up eight runs in 15.1 innings pitched while striking out 22. Knebel features the highest rated fastball in the system (70 on the 20-80 scale according to Fangraphs) and a plus curveball, though he can struggle with his command at time, es evidenced by his seven walks so far this year.
In Gennett’s place, Hector Gomez and Elian Herrera figure to get the bulk of the playing time at second base with top prospect Luis Sardinas likely to make most of the starts at shortstop while Jean Segura is out with a pinky injury. Sardinas also came over in the Gallardo trade, and is considered a defensive whiz at short, though questions surround his bat. If Sardinas is able to prove his worth against major league pitching, it would make it a lot easier for the Brewers to soften on the idea of trading the 25 year old Segura, who is a highly regarded around the league.
Hector Gomez could be a player to watch, as well. Now 27 years old, Gomez was ranked as a top 100 prospect in the Rockies’ organization once upon a time, before injuries derailed his prospect stock. The Brewers plucked Gomez off waivers in 2012, and he posted an .808 OPS with 15 home runs in AAA last season. Able to play second, third, and short, Gomez has been a key figure on the bench this season and has certainly earned the right to some more playing time.
The Brewers continue their ten game road trip in Detroit, starting a three game series tonight with first pitch scheduled for 6:08 PM CST. Mike Fiers (1-4, 5.00 ERA) will take the mound for the Brewers, facing off against 25 year old Kyle Lobstein (3-3, 4.33 ERA).