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Gennett and Davis: Not 'satisfied,' but 'happy'

Pair of 2009 Draft picks appear to have bright future with Brewers

Gennett and Davis: Not 'satisfied,' but 'happy' play video for Gennett and Davis: Not 'satisfied,' but 'happy'

MILWAUKEE -- In separate interviews Sunday, Brewers left fielder Khris Davis and second baseman Scooter Gennett offered remarkably similar sentiments about reaching their anniversaries as Major League regulars.

"I don't think I'm satisfied. I'm happy," Gennett said.

And Davis: "I'm not satisfied, but I'm happy. I definitely want to get better."

Davis joined the Brewers' regular starting lineup last July 23, the day after Ryan Braun was suspended. Gennett followed on Aug. 9, two days after Rickie Weeks suffered a season-ending hamstring injury.

Selected by Milwaukee in the same 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Davis and Gennett have made the most of their opportunities. Here's a look at what each has accomplished:

Khris Davis
Age: 26
Drafted: Seventh round, 2009

"Talent is overrated at this level," Davis said. "Not everybody in here is a first-rounder or has five tools. They make the best out of their situation with what they've got."

Davis' best tool is his power, which was so impressive during 2013 Spring Training that it won him a spot on Milwaukee's Opening Day roster. He struggled off the bench, but he found success in late July after Braun's season-ending suspension.

In 142 games since taking over left field, Davis is a .261 hitter with 35 doubles, 28 home runs, 81 RBIs and a .317 on-base percentage. Since the date of his first start in place of Braun, Davis is tied for 12th among Major League regulars with a .510 slugging percentage, five points behind Jose Bautista and four points ahead of David Ortiz. Davis' isolated power, a measure of a hitter's ability to hit for extra bases, is seventh in the Majors at .249, two ticks below Paul Goldschmidt. Only eight players have homered more regularly than Davis, who has gone deep once every 17.64 at-bats, the same rate as Troy Tulowitzki.

Isolated Power since 7/23/13
PLAYER TEAM ISO
Edwin Encarnacion TOR .294
Brandon Moss OAK .269
Mike Trout LAA .261
Giancarlo Stanton MIA .257
Nelson Cruz TEX-BAL .255
Paul Goldschmidt ARI .251
Khris Davis MIL .249
Chris Carter HOU .246
David Ortiz BOS .240
Troy Tulowitzki COL .228
*Among qualifying MLB hitters

The knock on Davis is his defense, particularly his throwing arm. But manager Ron Roenicke mounted a defense of Davis over the weekend, arguing the left fielder has fared well in terms of his range, adding that he could think of very few instances in which an opponent took liberties running the bases because of Davis' throwing arm.

Offensive production is why the Brewers made clear last week, when they acquired defensively savvy outfielder Gerardo Parra from the D-backs, that Davis would remain the regular left fielder. Davis was in the middle of a workout when Roenicke summoned him to the office to deliver that message.

"It was a relief," Davis said, "but I'm happy to have [Parra] here. I'm excited to see what he brings to the table. [Roenicke] made a point to pull me aside and tell me I'm still part of the outfield. There's a communication part there. He wants us to feel comfortable talking to him. He talks to me all the time about coaching points, making adjustments during the game. He's real good at doing that."

Said Roenicke: "You have to keep it simple so they can think about it and still perform. But he wants me talking to him. He wants to improve his game."

So does the Brewers' young second baseman.

Scooter Gennett
Age: 24
Drafted: 16th round, 2009

"I wouldn't say that we've had enough to where we're comfortable or we're veterans, or anything like that," Gennett said, referring to himself and Davis. "But in a sense, it feels more normal being up here. You get used to something after 100-something games."

Gennett has played in 141 games since taking over regular second-base duties from Weeks last August, batting .322 with a .354 on-base percentage, 32 doubles and 13 home runs. His batting average ranks fifth among all Major League regulars in that span, and among second basemen, only Robinson Cano has a better slugging percentage than Gennett's .487.

Gennett's ranks among 2B since 8/9/13
Category Rank Leader
Average 3rd, .324 R. Cano, .344
Slugging pct. 2nd, .487 Cano, .493
OPS 2nd, .841 Cano, .893
ISO 3rd, .165 N. Walker, .187
AB/HR 3rd, 35.85 Walker, 21.36
XBH t-9th, 48 Cano, 61
 

Gennett's Minor League history suggests that those splits would even out in a full-time role. At Double-A Huntsville in 2012, Gennett's last full season in the Minors, he had a .759 OPS against right-handers and a .609 OPS against left-handers.Those numbers are boosted by the fact Gennett has played this season in a platoon with Weeks, with Gennett starting against right-handed pitchers and Weeks against the occasional left-hander. That has maximized Gennett's production, since he's a .344 hitter with a .911 OPS in 484 plate appearances against righties, and a .160 hitter with a .311 OPS in only 78 plate appearances against lefties.

"This year was not a developing year in that area -- facing lefties," Gennett said. "In the Minor Leagues, I would get 140 at-bats against them. I'm eager to prove I can hit lefties. I'm eager for that opportunity again."

He will most likely get it next season. Weeks is in the final guaranteed season of his contract and will not compile the plate appearances he needs to trigger an $11.5 million vesting option for 2015.

"With my life, I try to look ahead and see where I might be so I can better set myself up, but I don't do that with baseball," Gennett said. "I'm fortunate to be here where I'm at, and I can't really play in my mind, 'OK, I'm going to be starting [every day] next year,' because anything can happen. And obviously, we have a job to do now."

Gennett missed Sunday's start against the Cardinals with a right quadriceps strain and is a question mark for Tuesday's game against right-hander Tim Lincecum and the Giants at Miller Park.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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