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Let’s take a second to appreciate Scooter

Jeff

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Credit © David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

He’s been the best player on the Reds this season. He’s currently got the 6th best WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in the National League. The Reds are giving away his bobblehead on Saturday. He is Scooter Gennett. 

I’m not going to talk about trades or extensions in this post. I just want to take a moment to give Reds fans a reason to smile today, because Gennett has given fans plenty of reasons to smile since he arrived in Cincinnati.

First, look at how he got here. Was it through a crazy trade where the Reds has to give up some talented pie es? No! He was a waiver-wire pickup late in Spring Training 2017. Those guys don’t tend to be the sort of spark that Scooter has become.

So he came over on the waiver wire and proceeded to have the best year of his career. In 141 games, Gennett hit 13 more homers than his previous career-high and hit just five points under .300. In fact, Scooter had a better slugging percentage (.531) than at any point in his career.

“It’s kind of ironic,” Gennett told C. Trent Rosecrans after he signed with Cincinnati. “Being born there and being a big Reds fan growing up. So it’s a little surreal. But it’s a big league ball club and there’s a job to do, so that stuff’s cool, but it’s, ‘how can I help the team?’ All that stuff is pretty cool. It will probably make a good story for you guys.”

As fans from a blue-collar town like Cincinnati, how can we not love that? He had no idea what his role would be. Heck, he was thought to be a bench bat and possibly a backup to third base and left field, but he was just happy to have a job and he was ready to go to work – boy has he worked.

May 22, 2018; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett (3) reacts to hitting a grand slam home run with center fielder Billy Hamilton (6) against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fifth inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

I had the privilege of living in Huntsville, Alabama at a time when the Brewers Double-A team played there. I got to see Gennett cut his teeth for the Huntsville Stars. There was one particular series where Pensacola and a young Billy Hamilton came to town. At that time, Hamilton was playing second base and it was almost as if Scooter stepped it up a notch to compete with the kid people knew. Gennett was a 16th round pick in 2009. I saw him play in 2012, so he had a pretty big chip on his shoulder. It’s not just for the sake of this article, but other than Hamilton beating out a ground ball that went straight at Scooter, I thought Gennett looked like the better player, but I digress. 

Let’s fast forward to last season – Scooter surprised everyone with four home runs in one game. He’s been playing well since that night. I’m starting to believe that was the tipping point and not an anomaly. Gennett morphed into a mainstay for a franchise. Maybe not the centerpiece, but definitely a strong add-on. His last two years of hitting speak for themselves:

He’s tied with Jose Abreu and in the top ten of all sluggers in baseball!

So maybe he is a trade chip. Maybe he is a candidate for an extension. Whatever the Reds decide, he’s been one of only a handful of reasons to smile about Reds baseball over the last two seasons. 

Jeff has spent his entire life around sports. From playing baseball and golf in high school to traveling with college softball, volleyball, and men’s basketball teams as their media relations guy, sports have always been his focal point. He’s pumped to be bringing Reds content to the Locked on Sports Podcast Network!

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