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June 4, 2013

The Call-Up

Scooter Gennett

by Jason Cole and Bret Sayre

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The Situation: The Brewers made four roster moves on Monday, looking to shake things up on a club that’s just 7-24 since May 1. Gennett was among the beneficiaries, earning the call from Triple-A Nashville. He’ll take the roster spot vacated by veteran infielder Alex Gonzalez, who was released after hitting .177/.203/.230 in 41 games.

Background: Milwaukee’s 16th-round pick out of Sarasota (Fla.) High School in 2009, Gennett didn’t enter the professional ranks as a top prospect, but he has proven himself at each step on the minor-league ladder. A career .300 hitter across all four full-season levels over the last four seasons, Gennett has been an All-Star at each of the stops and represented Milwaukee in last year’s MLB Futures Game. Although the prospect has scuffled of late in Triple-A, he was still hitting .297/.342/.376 through 50 contests at the time of his call-up.

Scouting Report: As an undersized, high-energy second baseman who’s known for his hustle and hit tool, Gennett checks all the boxes on the “gamer” cliche scouting report. When Jason Parks ranked Gennett 10th in the Brewers’ system this past offseason, he wrote that the prospect has “good baseball instincts” and “plays with intensity and purpose.” That hard-nosed style could inject some life into a struggling Milwaukee club.

As far as quantifiable production goes, the 23-year-old has the ability to hit for average at the highest level due to his excellent bat speed and bat control. While Gennett has an aggressive approach and little home run power, he could be a .280-.290 hitter at his peak with some gap-to-gap pop. He’s an average defender at second base with average speed that plays up due to his instincts. Profiling as a second-division regular, Gennett likely won’t provide sexy tools or production, but he should be a serviceable major-league player.

Immediate Big-League Future: Gennett will see immediate big-league playing time, as he’s expected to join a righty-lefty platoon with incumbent second baseman Rickie Weeks. The left-handed Gennett should get starts against right-handed pitching. Although Weeks is off to a poor start overall, he’s hitting a serviceable .239/.346/.448 against lefties. Gennett, meanwhile, has a history of mashing righty arms. After hitting .315 against right-handers in Double-A last season, he was off to a .317/.370/.449 start against them in Triple-A this year. —Jason Cole

Video:

Scooter Gennett, 2B, Nashville Sounds (5/4/2013) from Jason Cole on Vimeo.

Fantasy Impact: The best thing Scooter Gennett has going for him right now, at least as far as his potential fantasy value is concerned, is the fact that he's not Rickie Weeks. Weeks is not only striking out at a 30 percent clip for the first time in his career (in a full season), but he also has a horrifying .567 OPS. Of course, because he's Rickie Weeks and he did almost the exact same thing last season (on last June 3, he had a .617 OPS and that was at the end of a four-game hit streak), he's likely to get opportunity after opportunity to get back on track. But in the meantime, the diminutive Gennett will get a chance to spell him while he clears his head.

There's really not a whole lot to get excited about here from a fantasy perspective. Gennett has 24 homers and 44 steals in 435 career games, so he's not going to go crazy with the counting stats. But with second base for the Brewers being the black hole it is this season, even a player who could hit for a decent average, provide any pop whatsoever, and steal a few bags in limited time has value in deep mixed leagues. In NL-only formats, Gennett should command a $3-5 bid if you're currently trotting out a glorified placeholder, as he can give you some value without taking it back in the batting average category. In keeper/dynasty leagues, he can be ignored for now in anything shallower than a 16-team mixed format. At his peak, you're likely looking at Daniel Murphy-type production with a few additional steals, so if you're thinking about using a roster spot on him, make sure a player like that is worth the price of admission. —Bret Sayre

Jason Cole is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jason's other articles. You can contact Jason by clicking here
Bret Sayre is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Bret's other articles. You can contact Bret by clicking here

Related Content:  Prospects,  Scouting,  Scooter Gennett,  Brewers,  Call-up

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