Derek Dietrich smashed his 4th home run of the season during the Cincinnati Reds’ win yesterday. Dietrich’s rise is similar to that of Scooter Gennett’s.
Derek Dietrich is quickly becoming every Reds fan’s favorite player. Dietrich hit a leadoff homer over the fence in right field to give the Cincinnati Reds a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning of last night’s game. He then added a 2-run triple to give the Reds some added insurance late in the ball game. While still early, Dietrich’s rise is eerily similar to that of Scooter Gennett.
On March 28, 2017, Scooter Gennett was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds. The second baseman had been part of the Brewers organization, but Milwaukee refused to go into a second year of arbitration with Gennett and decided it was more cost-effective to let him go.
Oh, how wrong they were. Gennett promptly introduced himself to the Cincinnati Reds faithful with a home run on Opening Day. With one runner on and two out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Gennett lifted a deep fly to left field to bring the Reds within one. Sound familiar?
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Gennett hit .295 with 27 home runs and 95 RBIs in his first season with his hometown team. Last season, Gennett went to his first All-Star Game and was in the hunt for the NL batting title until the last week of the season. Gennett finished 2018 with 30 doubles, 23 home runs, and 92 RBIs.
Derek Dietrich, who like Gennett is an Ohio native, signed with the Reds after being let go by the Miami Marlins. Much like the Brewers did with Gennett, the Marlins decided they’d rather avoid arbitration with Dietrich and just let him go.
Dietrich signed a minor league contract with the Reds on February 19th and his play during Spring Training warranted a spot on the Opening Day roster. Dietrich, along with fellow free agent signee José Iglesias, were thought to bring some experience to the Reds’ bench.
Derek Dietrich broke onto there scene in Cincinnati in a similar fashion. On Opening Day this season, with the game tied 2-2, Dietrich lifted a three-run shot into the bleachers in right field of Great American Ball Park. The Reds won the game 5-3.
Dietrich, who’s currently occupying a utility role, is 7-for-30 (.233) with 4 home runs and 11 RBIs. His OPS is a ridiculous 1.015. Dietrich is a threat to go deep every single time he comes to the plate.
His stare down of his majestic home run a week ago in Pittsburgh may have incited the fracas that ensued during his next at-bat, but it also may have fueled the Reds most recent 4-game winning streak. Dietrich is 4-for-16 (.250) during the Reds’ last 5 games with 3 home runs and 7 RBIs.
Obviously David Bell has seen what Dietrich brings to the table as well, as he’s tried to get Dietrich’s bat into the lineup whenever possible. Dietrich has started 4 of the last 5 games at second base while José Iglesias and José Peraza have been rotated at shortstop.
For the time being, with Scooter Gennett on the injured list, Bell has several options to help fill the void left by his starting second baseman. It’ll be interesting to see how Bell handles the lineup once Scooter returns. But until then, we’ll just enjoy the newest version of Scooter Gennett mashing home runs over the right field fence.