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Updating the Top 100: Scooter Gennett

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Atlanta Braves v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Scooter Gennett conversation is one of the more frustrating aspects of Reds fandom. The Homer Bailey conversation is easy: he used to be a promising prospect, the front office took a gamble, Bailey got hurt, the end. It sucks, but it’s straightforward.

Scooter is:

· Valuable (6.6 bWAR over the last two years), and

· A bargain (still in arbitration years), and

· The best 2nd baseman in the franchise, but also

· Difficult to project on (a BABIP-fueled season at age 28 suggests relative decline from here on out), and

· Due for a big raise in 2019, and

· Potentially blocking Nick Senzel or Dilson Herrera or Shed Long

The two teams that just played for the World Series would know what to do with Gennett. They’d keep him and know that he’d either hold on to 2nd base for one more year or perhaps caddy for one of the youngsters in a super-sub power-off-the-bench role.

The teams with no obvious interest in competing for 2019 would know what to do with Gennett. He’d have been gone months ago, in an effort to collect as many lottery tickets as possible.

The Reds, instead, are a bit paralyzed. He’s their best option at 2nd base right now, but also not the kind of player who typically carries a huge trade deadline price tag.

Rather than go out on a downer note, let’s remember that Scooter is an immensely fun player who did two very positive things in 2018.

First, he led all NL second basemen in putouts and double plays turned. For the talk about his weak defense (most especially around his erratic throwing arm), he actually graded out as a league average defender in 2018, driven by his increased number of fielding chances per game. Maybe that’s a blip, but again…Scooter was a valuable player last year.

Which brings us to the second positive note: Gennett posted the following batting line in May, which is not significant from an overall valuation standpoint but is pretty cool to look at all the same…

37-for-93 (.398 average), with 6 doubles, 8 homers, and 24 RBI. 1139 OPS. Should we point out the 3 walks that month? We should not.

Through two seasons with the Reds, Gennett has a batting line of .303/.351/.508 (124 OPS+), with 50 HR and 189 RBI. He debuts on the all-time Reds list at #227, and also breaks onto the list of the best franchise second basemen, displacing Tony Cuccinello at #15.

Top 15 2nd Basemen in Reds history

  1. Joe Morgan
  2. Bid McPhee
  3. Brandon Phillips
  4. Lonny Frey
  5. Miller Huggins
  6. Johnny Temple
  7. Ron Oester
  8. Hughie Critz
  9. Bret Boone
  10. Dick Egan
  11. Sam Bohne
  12. Tommy Helms
  13. Pokey Reese
  14. Morrie Rath
  15. Scooter Gennett