Gennett making most of ‘second’ impression
It is a small sample, to be sure. But so far, Scooter Gennett has been better than Rickie Weeks at the plate and better than Weeks in the field, leading many to wonder whether the Brewers would be better with Gennett at second base on Opening Day next season.
“I don’t know,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Thursday. “I don’t even really want to think about what we’re doing [next year]. I like him a lot. It’s not a question of whether we like him or not.”
Weeks’ .769 OPS over the past four seasons ranks eighth among Major League second basemen with at least 1,000 plate appearances in that span, behind the likes of Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia, but ahead of the Reds’ Brandon Phillips and the Angels’ Howie Kendrick. But after consecutive years of 20-plus home runs in 2010 and 2011, Weeks has endured consecutive subpar seasons, batting .209 in 2013 with a .306 on-base percentage and a .357 slugging percentage before undergoing surgery this month for a torn left hamstring.
The injury opened playing time for Gennett, who entered Thursday’s start in the leadoff hole hitting .321/.358/.527 while played adequate defense, the area Gennett needed the most work in his Minor League development.
“I think he’s been really good,” Roenicke said. “He’s going to need some time, probably, to figure out the timing of plays; fast runner, slow runner, just when he needs to hurry it up and when he needs to slow it down. That usually comes with experience.
“Besides that, I think he’s been really good. He’s turned double plays really well, the play we saw [Wednesday] night, diving for the ball and getting up and throwing, he’s done a really nice job.”
That play actually occurred in right field. Positioned in the outfield as part of a defensive shift against power-hitting Pedro Alvarez, Gennett dove toward center field for a grounder and threw out Alvarez at first base.
“I like diving around, making awkward throws,” Gennett said. “Sometimes those are the ones where I get off the most accurate throw, when I’m not even looking at the base. [Wednesday’s] was one of those plays where I was just happy to stop the ball and save a run, but if we can get the out, it’s the cherry on top.”
Gennett won’t turn 24 until May and has two Minor League options remaining. Weeks will be 31 next month and will earn $11 million in 2014, the final guaranteed season of his four-year, $38.5 million contract. Weelks also has an $11.5 million vesting option for 2015 that will become guaranteed if he is healthy at end of 2014 and has 600 plate appearances next year, or 1,200 plate appearances in 2013-14 combined. Weeks batted .209 with 10 home runs in 399 plate appearances this season.
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