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Scooter Gennett (2B, CIN) - Fantasy Baseball Draft Sleepers

BALLER MOVE: Draft target ~pick 75

CURRENT ADP: ~85 overall

ANALYSIS: In 2018, Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett slashed .310/.357/.490 with 23 HRs, 86 R, and 92 RBI, the best full season of his career. But let’s not just focus on last year. Gennett has begun to surge since he joined the Reds in 2017 when he put up a slash line of .295/.342/.531 with 27 HR, 80 R, and 97 RBI. Typically, we can be skeptical after one breakout year, but continued and even better performance in the second year and it’s probably legit.

Gennett made improvements in 2018. He struck out less, decreasing his K% by over 3.3% to 19.6%, he’s walking more, increasing his walk% by 0.6% to 6.6%, and he’s hitting the ball harder, increasing his hard contact% by 4.4% to 38.8%. All of these factors contributed to a .310 batting average in the 2018 season. Sure, you can point to a high BABIP of .358, but he’s historically had a fairly high BABIP (.339 in 2017 and .315 in 2016) and he’s also improved his approach at the plate which is evidenced by an increase in hits to the opposite field by 3.6% to 27.4% in 2018.

Despite a sharp drop in ISO from .236 to .180, Gennett only popped four fewer home runs than he did the previous year. His 23 total home runs in 2018 were fourth-most for qualified second baseman. If the Reds can get him running, he could post a stolen base total closer to double digits, but don’t bet on that as he’s only successfully grabbed a total of seven bags in his past two seasons.

The Reds lack options at this point and should be excited to return a key piece to their lineup. At an ADP of 87 and the ninth 2B off the board, Gennett offers the stability that some players ahead of him can’t.

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