We haven’t been this excited about an undersized Brewers infield prospect with a funny name since Callix Crabbe.
21-year-old Scooter Gennett hit for the cycle Sunday against the Royals, homering off Louis Coleman in the eighth inning to complete it.
Gennett, who is listed a 5-foot-9 and 164 pounds, entered the day with just five at-bats and one hit this spring. The 2009 16th-round pick hit .300/.334/.406 in the Florida State League last year and then further impressed by batting .411/.470/.556 in the Arizona Fall League. Baseball America ranked him the Brewers’ No. 5 prospect.
Gennett is expected to open this season in Double-A. His natural position is second base, but with Rickie Weeks signed for the long haul, his future in Milwaukee is murky. He doesn’t have the range to play shortstop regularly and his bat probably wouldn’t survive a move to an outfield corner. He might work out as a utilityman, but he could also become trade bait at some point.
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.