Cincinnati Reds Scooter Gennett solidifies clean-up spot with hot start

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

After facing skepticism that his offense would justify the role, Scooter Gennett has shown the Cincinnati Reds that he belongs batting fourth.

The Cincinnati Reds didn’t have a better option to bat fourth heading into the 2018 season.  With the departure of shortstop Zack Cozart to the Los Angeles Angels, there was a hole in the Reds’ line-up in the second spot.  Third baseman Eugenio Suarez moved up to bat second, leaving a hole at clean-up hitter.

Scooter Gennett made the most sense to bat behind first baseman Joey Votto.  While his offensive explosion last year may have contained an unsustainable level of power, he has proven that he can get on base.  Behind Votto that is a necessary trait.

Gennett is a career .284 hitter with an OBP of .324.  Those are consistent numbers that are unmatched by any other player save Votto.  Gennett may fluctuate in power, but he is definitely a big league batter with big league confidence.

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So far this season Gennett has gotten off to a hot start.  In just four games he is batting .471 with an OBP to match and a slugging percentage of .588.  That comes out to a OPS of 1.059 despite not hitting a single home run yet in the young season.

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The Cincinnati Reds have already seen that teams respect the combination of Joey Votto and Scooter Gennett.

In the first series the Washington Nationals had an opportunity to bring in a lefty to face the middle of the Reds’ order featuring Votto, Gennett, and right fielder Scott Schebler.  Instead, first year manager brought in primary set-up man Ryan Madson to face the trio.  The only way to show more respect would have to bring in closer Sean Doolitte, a lefty himself, in to pitch the eighth.

The good news is that depending on who is batting behind Gennett, he could see some right handed pitchers.

When Duvall bats behind him, opposing teams may start an inning with a righty.  Of course, some teams like to bring in lefties to face Votto.

The biggest flaw right now is the status of prospect Dilson Herrera.  Right now he isn’t playing second against most lefties to relieve the pressure from Gennett.  Now Herrera is the DH in Louisville and the back-up infielders are the lighter hitting Cliff Pennington and Phil Gosselin.

Next: The Reds start 2018 down six pitchers

The good news is that a .284 batter with a .588 slugging percentage is a mighty fine clean-up hitter.  The player on base mostly create RBIs, not the hitter at bat.  Now Gennett just has to be himself.