Jaffe: Gennett’s 4-HR game is one of the most impressive and improbable ever

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at Sports Illustrated on June 6, 2017:

If you had to choose a player who would enter baseball immortality thanks to an exceptional display of power, a 5’10” utilityman with 38 homers in parts of five seasons to his name—which for baseball purposes, is Scooter, by the way—likely wouldn’t top your list. Nonetheless, the Reds’ Scooter Gennett became the first player in five years and the 17th player in major league history to hit four home runs in a single game. What’s more, he put himself into the conversation for the greatest single-game offensive performance ever by collecting a single as well and driving in 10 runs in a 13-1 win over the Cardinals at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.

Twenty-seven-year-old Ryan Joseph Gennett (whose nickname origin story is adorable) spent the past three and a half seasons as the Brewers’ starting second baseman, and even hit a career-high 14 homers last year. Alas, when the rebuilding Brewers decided he no longer fit their plans, he was placed on waivers near the end of spring training. The Reds picked him up on March 28 and have since used him at second base, third, both outfield corners and DH, which Gennett had accompanied with a modest .270/.308/.450 line with three home runs in 117 plate appearances prior to Tuesday.

Tuesday night’s power surge—which, it’s worth noting, comes at a time when homers are at an all-time high in terms of frequency per game (1.23 per team) and in a homer-conducive ballpark as well—didn’t begin immediately. Batting fifth and playing left field, he hit an RBI single off Adam Wainwright in the first inning. The 1-0 score held until the bottom of the third, when he came up with the bases loaded and one out and hit a towering 404-foot grand slam to right field.

Read the full article here: https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/06/07/scooter-gennett-four-home-run-game-cincinnati-reds

Originally published: June 7, 2017. Last Updated: June 7, 2017.