By Nathan Petrashek
It has been 24 days since the Great Grindy Scooter Experiment began under the premise that he was somehow a more reliable option than Rickie Weeks. What have we learned in 24 days?
Scooter is not even who we thought he was.
People who really liked batting average loved Scooter. “He’s hitting .300 at Nashville! That’s like .150 points better than Rickie!” they said. And he struck out less than Rickie, so Scooter was anointed the Second Baseman of the Future by these folks.
People who liked power, plate discipline, on-base percentage, and basically everything that keeps a player in the major leagues for ten years (has it been that long? Oh, Rickie, how time flies!) did not love Scooter.
But Scooter arrived anyway, and formed the left-handed component of a loose platoon at second base. Here’s how Scooter and Rickie have fared in nearly equal playing time since June 3.
Scooter: 44 PA, .220/.256/.366, 3 XBH, 1 HR, 2 BB, 7 K
Rickie: 43 PA, .447/.512/.947, 8 XBH, 5 HR, 4 BB, 6 K
Scooter isn’t hitting anywhere near .300 in the bigs. In fact, his batting average is even worse than Weeks’s now is for the season. Gennett’s nearly 90% contact rate and .242 BABIP suggests that should rise, but the fact is he looks in over his head against major league pitching. So he’s pretty much been even worse than we thought.
Neither is a good bench bat.
Off the bench, both players have been pretty much useless. Shockingly, Weeks has only made seven appearances off the bench. It seems like a lot more, but I could be recalling times I’ve been throwing things and yelling, “Bring in Weeks!” And then imagining he hit a home run, like he has been for most of June. But I digress.
Weeks has made only seven appearances off the bench, and he has a hit and a walk. And he apparently needs to spend a lot of time in the cages to keep focused when he’s not starting. But hey, might as well burn all those swings on the bench, right? Fun fact, by the way: Weeks is seeing 4.09 pitches per plate attempt this year. Scooter? 3.43.
Actually, Scooter has been useless off the bench, too. He doesn’t have a hit or a walk in 5 opportunities.
Neither is a good fielder.
Finally, neither player is good on defense. Like I said, we’ve been watching Rickie for 10 years, so we know he comes with some pretty glaring defensive shortcomings. A few nice plays aside, Gennett has been every bit the butcher Weeks is at the position.
A player with all of Weeks’s flaws and none of his strengths has pretty much evenly split playing time with him over the last 24 days.
UPDATE: And after 24 days the Great Grindy Scooter Experiment ends. Scoots was optioned to Nashville. The second base gig is Rickie’s full time once again.