Second baseman was a standout in Cincinnati’s lost season
Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons | Reds’ second baseman Scooter Gennett has enjoyed a fruitful season, batting over .300 and being selected to be a National League All-Star.
Ryan Joseph “Scooter” Gennett has had one of the more remarkable seasons in recent Cincinnati Reds history.
Gennett has a batting average of over .300, 22 home runs, 88 runs batted in (RBI) and 84 runs. The 28-year-old Cincinnati native has indeed come a long way since being drafted out of high school by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009.
This season, Gennett’s play in the field and at the plate earned him a spot on the National League All-Star Team, and he is currently making a case to win the National League batting title.
ESPN senior writer David Shoenfield wrote that “Gennett’s improvement can be traced to a swing change that began in his final season with the Brewers, adding more loft and improving his exit velocity.”
Gennett has since changed to a more “patient” approach at the plate. If Gennett wins the batting title, he would become the first Reds player to win the honor since Pete Rose did during the 1973 campaign.
“He talks about how his approach has changed at the plate, and he’s trying to hit more balls into the air,” Xavier senior and Reds intern Jake Fouts said.
“It’s worked, because he’s developed into an absolute monster at the plate and a fan-favorite for the city of Cincinnati,” he added.
Unfortunately, Gennett’s efforts were not enough to lift the Reds into a playoff spot this season. The Reds have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, and barring an unprecedented comeback, the Reds are looking at their fourth straight season finishing in last place in the National League Central Division.
The Reds remained quiet during the July 31 trade deadline, though some speculated that they would trade Gennett, who could be looking at a contract extension in this coming offseason.
Gennett has maintained that he would like to remain in Cincinnati and explained to Marcus Hartman of the Dayton Daily News: “The way I look at it is, I want to play for this team. I was born in Cincinnati. I grew up a Reds fan. I love my teammates, I love the coaching staff and I love the fans. I’d like nothing more than to play here long-term. Unfortunately that’s not up to me.”
Cincinnati Reds General Manager Nick Krall and former GM and current Reds’ President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams have a big decision to make when determining if Gennett is the player they want to build their team around for the long term.
The pair must also decide if they will make Interim Manager Jim Riggleman the full-time skipper. Riggleman took over the position after Manager Bryan Price was fired in April.
Gennett has been a fan favorite throughout the course of the season.
“It’s been cool for me to watch him go from a guy claimed on waivers to play sparingly to now, where he’s an All-Star, should’ve started in the All-Star Game, and is one of the most feared left-handed hitters in the league,” Fouts said.
Based on his current contract, Gennett would be a free agent after the 2019 season.
“He’s a hometown kid that everyone roots for, whether you’re a Reds fan or not. Even as a Cardinals fan, I find myself yelling ‘Scoot Scoot!’ whenever he does damage at the plate,” Fouts said.
For now, though, Gennett is a staple on a Reds team that hopes to make strides to contend next season.
By: Michael Rauber | Guest Writer