Scooter Gennett: the man, the myth, the legend. Flash in the pan or bonafide MLB All-Star? By now it shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even be a question if Scooter Gennett is a quality MLB player or not. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s backed up a really good 2017 with an arguably better 2018. He leads the NL in average and is 2nd among qualified NL second baseman in OBP, slugging, OPS, WAR, and wRC+. Simply put, Scooter Gennett has been the 2nd best offensive second baseman in the National League this season.
People have their reservations about Scooter Gennett and how he fits in with the RedsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ future because of his age, his position flexibility, and how he performed in his first four years in the league compared to his last two. In his first four years with the Brewers Scooter posted an OPS of .738. Based on Bill JamesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ OPS scaleÃ‚Â that OPS would classify Scooter as a D (average) hitter. Fast forward to 2018 and Scooter has had an OPS of .883 in his last two seasons with the Reds. Based on that same OPS scale this would put Scooter in the upper half of the B (very good) classification.
This jump in OPS is rare, but nothing new. I was curious to see just how often it happens and who has done it over the years. Basically, I wanted to know how many and which players, like our boy Scooter, had an OPS at least .136 points higher in the fifth year of their careers compared to the first four years of their careers. To accomplish this feat I downloaded LahmanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Baseball Database, threw it into a SQL database, and ran some custom queries against it to get the data set that I was looking for.
Note: We arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t doing Scooters 2018 OPS (which is actually even BETTER than his 2017 OPS) because LahmanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s database doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have 2018 data yet.
Below are the data parameters that I used:
- Main stat being compared is OPS (I had to calculate this myself, it wasn’t in the Lahman database)
- Players who made their debut after 1960 (you gotta cut it off somewhere, right?)
- Players who were 23 years of age (ScooterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s age) or younger when they made their debut
- Players with a minimum of 1,526 at bats (ScooterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s number of at bats) in their first 4 seasons
- Players with an OPS that was at least .136 higher in their fifth year than the WEIGHTED average of their OPS in the first 4 years of their career.
And for the results (drum roll, please):
So, what does this data tell us? Since 1960 there have been only 15 players under the age of 24 that have posted an OPS at least .136 higher in the fifth year of their careers compared to their first four years. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pretty remarkable. You may recognize some of the names on the list: Barry Bonds, Derek Jeter, Vlad Guerrero, Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, andÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Scooter Gennett.
WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also interesting to note is that there were only 4 others who did it at age 27 (Mike Moustakas, Marcell Ozuna, Chuck Knoblauch, Anthony Rendon). Another interesting tidbit – Scooter started with the 4th lowest OPS of the bunch (.738) and many of the bigger names on this list (Bonds, Jeter, Griffey, Vlad) went from a good or great OPS to an even better one.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an interesting list of players, to say the least. One of the more interesting pieces of analysis on this data is going to be how these same players performed a number of years after their OPS jump, especially those guys who started at an average or below average OPS number and then hit the +.136 OPS at a later age (like Scooter).
So, there you have it. What Scooter Gennett has done in his career is rare. Finding examples of players and how their comparable age, OPS jump, and beginning OPS translated into future play is even rarer. We will analyze this in part 2 which may give us some insights on how exactly the Reds should handle Scooter Gennett’s future. That being said, its pretty impressive what Scooter has done this year coming off of such a high OPS jump from his first four years in the league to his fifth. He’s not only backed up the increased production from a year ago but has exceeded it.
Until then, keep fighting the good fight fellow Scooter fans!