This morning the last-place Brewers demoted their starting second baseman since mid-2013, Scooter Gennett, to Triple-A because he hit .154 in 20 games this year after coming into the season as a career .300 hitter.
What makes the move particularly odd is that less than 12 months ago Brewers general manager Doug Melvin used Gennett’s success in the majors as an example to aggressively criticize stat-heads, angrily telling Bill Madden of the New York Daily News:
Melvin, an old school GM who values scouts over Ivy League whiz kid stat geeks, thinks his NL Central-leading Brewers deserve a little more respect from the Sabermetrics crowd.
“There’s this one guy,” Melvin was saying by phone Friday, “who rates the prospects in every organization, and last year labeled Scooter Gennett ‘just a backup utility player.’ Well, Scooter’s only hit nothing but .300 since last year and been one of our most important players this year and yet, when the guy was asked about him again last week, he repeated the same thing; that he thought he was nothing more than a ‘backup utility player.'”
“Why can’t these (stat) guys ever admit they’re wrong? A lot of them don’t even watch the games. But then everything has changed so much in baseball. Everything now has to be immediate. We live in a world of Instagrams when, more than any other sport, the most important thing in baseball is that you’ve got to be patient.”
Let’s set aside his use of the always hilariously off base “a lot them don’t even watch games” cliche and focus on Melvin’s quotes about how “the most important thing in baseball is that you’ve got to be patient.” You know, “patient” like demoting your multi-year starting second baseman to Triple-A because he had a bad 20 games the season after you used his hitting .300 as a way to rip into the people who doubted his upside.
Perhaps the GM will take this opportunity to “admit he’s wrong” and apologize to the unnamed “this guy” who had the gall to question Gennett. I’m guessing he won’t. Something tells me Melvin also won’t be telling many newspaper columnists the “Brewers deserve a little more respect from the sabermetrics crowd” for a while. Since that Melvin quote was published in the New York Daily News the Brewers have a 44-73 record.
Melvin has been the Brewers’ general manager since 2003. During that time Milwaukee has a 969-1,012 (.489) record with five managers and two playoff appearances in 13 years.