by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
After a breakout 2017 campaign (.295 with 27 HR and 97 RBI) it was fair to be skeptical about Scooter Gennett entering 2018. Was it just a lucky campaign? Was he guaranteed to regress back to the pedestrian numbers he had posted while a member of the Brewers? The answer to those questions became pretty obvious, as he followed up his breakout with another strong season:
584 At Bats
.310 Batting Average (181 Hits)
23 Home Runs
4 Stolen Bases
.357 On Base Percentage
.490 Slugging Percentage
.358 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Instead of operating as a place holder until Nick Senzel was deemed ready to contribute, Gennett strengthened his hold on an every day job. Now the question isn’t with if Gennett is good, the question is how good can he truly be?
While his home run total dipped last season, despite a significant jump in AB (461 to 584), he did add 30 doubles and 3 triples showing that there could be a little bit more pop still. The fall off was in his HR/FB, which shouldn’t be a complete surprise:
- 2017 – 20.8%
- 2018 – 13.8%
It’s interesting, as Gennett had a dropoff in the second half. After posting a 15.8% HR/FB and 41.3% Hard% in the first half, both numbers tumbled after the All-Star Break. It continued a downward trend, specifically in his HR/FB, which is obviously highly concerning:
- First Half ’17 – 25.4%
- Second Half ’17 – 16.9%
- First Half ’18 – 15.8%
- Second Half ’18 – 10.6%
If you want to believe that the middle of the road numbers are the real ones, totaling his second half ’17 with his first half of ’18 he hit 28 HR over 605 AB. No one would obviously complain about that type of performance, but the downward trend is something to monitor closely and could lead to more of a 23-27 type HR campaign.
Gennett has consistently shown an ability to make contact, with a 9.5% SwStr% in ’18. However he did begin to chase outside the strike zone a bit too much, with a 38.3% O-Swing%. That’s a bit of a discouraging number, as you would expect it to lead to less hard contact and with it could come fewer home runs and a much lower BABIP. We’ve already noted the drop in Hard% in 2018, and he also saw his BABIP go from .371 to .339. Even the latter could regress and if Gennett can’t adjust things could turn quickly.
While it’s easy to get excited it seems like there’s a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to Gennett. The upside is there, but there are also a few warning bells like the jump in O-Swing% and the regression in his power. If the downward trend continues he’s not only going to fail to match his production from the past two seasons, there could again be talk of him losing his job. It’s not to say that he’s not for real and isn’t going to be worth targeting in 2019, it just means that fantasy owners need to be cautious and smart with their approach to him. He’s not going to be a player to reach for, despite the numbers, but the potential is there to again make an impact.
Source – Fangraphs