Even when Scooter Gennett returns, the Cincinnati Reds have to keep Derek Dietrich in the lineup, right? How will David Bell make that happen?
With Scooter Gennett more than halfway back from a groin injury that’s sidelined him since Spring Training, the likelihood of the slugger’s return to the Cincinnati Reds‘ lineup is becoming more of a reality. Where does Derek Dietrich fit into the equation once Gennett and his left-handed bat return to the lineup?
The Cincinnati Reds hit the lottery during the offseason when the team signed both Derek Dietrich and Jose Iglesias to minor league deals with an invite to Spring Training. The defensive wizardry of Iglesias and Dietrich’s power from left side of the plate guaranteed both a spot on the 25-man roster out of Goodyear.
Scooter Gennett, who was expected to be the starting second baseman for the club this season, experienced a groin injury late in Spring Training and has been shelved since before the season began. With Gennett’s injury, David Bell turned to Jose Peraza as the fill-in at second base and allowed Iglesias to take over for Peraza at shortstop.
Dietrich, who’d previously played for the Miami Marlins, was expected to receive a couple of starts from time to time, but overall, Dietrich’s role likely to be more of a utility player with the capabilities to give a spot start to Peraza or perhaps fill in the corner outfield on occasion.
After all, in six seasons with the Miami Marlins, the 29-year-old hit only .248 with a season-high of 16 home runs in 2018. However, Dietrich’s blast over the right field wall on Opening Day that led to a 5-3 Reds’ victory made him a household name in Reds Country and the left-handed slugger hasn’t stopped.
In his first year in Cincinnati, Derek Dietrich has enjoyed a break out season. Dietrich has already hit 10 home runs, driven in 24 runs and has a 1.034 OPS. His 10 homers rank second among on the team and his OPS ranks best on the ball club. There’s no question, even when Scooter Gennett returns, the Reds must keep Dietrich in the every day lineup.
Luckily for Cincinnati Reds skipper David Bell, that shouldn’t be too hard. The former Marlin is extremely versatile as he has experience at the corner outfield positions, as well as first, second, and third base. In addition to giving players such as Joey Votto, Eugenio Suárez and Gennett days off one spot Bell could consider starting Dietrich every day is in left field.
Jesse Winker, the Reds’ regular in left field, has been productive hitting nine home runs so far this season, but is only batting .237 and struggles against left-handers which often results in him not being on David Bell’s lineup card when a southpaw is on the mound.
While Dietrich only has a .143 batting average in 7 at-bats against lefties this season, his numbers against left-handers the past 3 seasons are much better than Winker’s. In 82 at-bats against left-handers, Winker batted just .183 with two home runs. As for Dietrich, from 2016-2018, he’s hit .245 off lefties with 5 home runs.
Though he may no longer be the every day second basemen when Scooter Gennett returns, expect to see Derek Dietrich remain in the lineup on a regular basis. When Dietrich has the day off, he could always provide a power-bat off the bench, manage a swarm of bees, or repair tower lights in the outfield.