Milwaukee Brewers rookie second baseman has only made two appearances as the leadoff hitter in his career. Ironically, both occurred this week as right fielder Norichika Aoki, who typically leads off, was unable to suit up due to patellar tendinitis in his right knee. Even though the Brewers never really saw Gennett as their leadoff hitter for the next several years, is it possible that he could evolve into the role going forward?
“His batting average is basically going to carry his on-base [percentage],” manager Ron Roenicke said, according to Brewers.com. “But I see things getting better with him, and I think for him to be successful in the Major Leagues, he’s going to have to start swinging at the pitch he wants to swing at. He’s a good hitter. The problem with good hitters is they think they can hit any pitch. These guys, they’ve got pretty good stuff, so if you want to go up there and just swing the bat at everything, you’re going to have a tough time here.”
The reason Roenicke is not convinced that Gennett has what it takes to be a consistent leadoff hitter, as of right now, is because of his lack of walks. Gennett is not the most patient player at the plate, which is typical of most rookies. It is true that he is currently batting .323 in 99 at-bats this year. However, he has only walked seven times over that span.
Make no mistake about it; Gennett and fellow rookie Khris Davis are tearing it up at the plate. Milwaukee cannot be any more pleased with what they have seen from the two youngsters, especially when both players have taken the spot of a trouble star. Rickie Weeks has struggled in the majors the past two seasons and is done for the year with an injury. Meanwhile, left fielder Ryan Braun is suspended for the rest of the season after admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs.
I believe with a little patience at the plate, and a solid work ethic in the offseason, Gennett could develop into a great leadoff hitter.