This past season will be one Reds fans soon forget, or try to, at least. With that being said, there are some players who had good seasons that I’d like to delve a little deeper into, starting with the Reds popular second baseman, Scooter Gennett.
According to fangraphs.com, Scooter led Cincinnati in WAR, with a 4.5 mark. The 28-year old posted his best-ever season with a career-high in batting average (.310), on-base percentage (.357), runs scored (86), and games played (154). Scooter competed for the National League batting title up until the final week of the season, with part of his continued improvement due to a more aggressive approach at the plate.
Gennett took a swing at 52.9% of the pitches he saw, in 2018. That is a 4.1% increase from 2017. Contrary to some opinions, his uptick in swinging actually brought with it an uptick in contact. Scooter made contact on 82% of swings. That, coupled with a sort-of high .358 batting average on balls in play, led to his .310 average and constant production.
Scooter thrived on pitchers tossing him off-speed junk, forcing them to go more to the fastball. Fangraphs stated his pitch value (his ability to produce runs against each pitch type) was all-star level against changeups (10.2, with 0.0 being average) as well as above average against sliders (4.4) and curveballs (2.9). A lot of those numbers have to do with simply making contact, though, and do not take into uccountthe type of contact, but that wasn’t a problem, wither. Just 15% of balls that Scooter hit were designated in the soft contact variety. He mostly turned contact into line drives (40%) and avoided the easy-out variety infield fly ball (6.6%).
Early in the year, when the Boston Red Sox got out to a roaring start from the batters’ box, an article was written for The Athletic that detailed the aggressive approach with which Alex Cora was preaching hitting. Scooter took on some of that and enjoyed a .393 average when swinging at the first pitch. His aggressiveness also led to some nice clutch stats, as he put together a .312 average with runners in scoring position as well as 65 RBI.
Gennett is one of the players due to see some turmoil, this offseason. If nothing else, he has arbitration coming up, but more than likely will hear his name come up in many a trade rumor. He may be a piece that lands an ace, or he may simply be moved for some prospects, and to open up a spot in the lineup for Nick Senzel. Scooter has become a household name, in the Queen City, so his departure may leave a mark. Whether he wears a Reds uniform in 2019, or not, the Reds received the two best years of his career, thus far, and all they did was pick him up off waivers.
The next post will take a dive into Eugenio Suarez’s season.
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