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Deep Pickups 6/25: Hitters

by Nick Nelson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Scooter Gennett - 2B, MIL

Owned in 4% of Yahoo! leagues


Gennett established himself as a quality hitter during his first two seasons in the big leagues, accumulating a .300/.331/.449 slash line with 15 homers and 42 doubles over 206 games. That might not be eye-dropping production, but it's highly respectable for a young middle infielder, and had the Brewers convinced they'd found their second baseman of the future.


Unfortunately, a tumultuous first six weeks in 2015 cast some doubt on Gennett's future. The 25-year-old batted just .154 with a brutal 403 OPS through his first 21 games, totaling just one extra-base hits while striking out 19 times and drawing zero unintentional walks. That's about as bad as it gets.


Gennett was optioned to Triple-A in mid-May with the hopes that he could get himself back on track, and to his credit, he did just that, hitting .307/.342/.507 in 17 games with Colorado Springs to earn a quick recall. Upon returning to Milwaukee, Gennett kept the momentum going, batting .360 with three doubles, a triple and homer in his first seven games.


Ultimately there are still plenty of reasons for skepticism around Gennett, namely relating to his poor strike zone control and lack of speed you'd expect from a smallish infielder. But his production over his first two seasons in the majors cannot be ignored, and his immediate success upon returning from a stint in Triple-A comes off as a very positive sign.


Second base is a top-heavy position right now and there are undoubtedly fantasy owners in deeper leagues who are struggling to find a competent option. Gennett is worth a shot and seems like a good bet to at least produce some solid power numbers the rest of the way.


Kennys Vargas - 1B, MIN

Owned in 8% of Yahoo! leagues


Vargas has drawn many comparisons to David Ortiz, owing to his Dominican heritage and imposing presence in the batter's box, and when you see him blasting balls out of the stadium in batting practice it's easy to see validity in those comps. But Ortiz has always had knack for pitch recognition and that's where Vargas has lacked.


Nevertheless, the young slugger's pure power potential is enough to pique one's curiosity.


As a minor-leaguer rising rapidly through Minnesota's system, Vargas slugged .488 and piled up 62 home runs in 397 games. That might not seem like a ton, but it also skewed by his more modest output as a younger, smaller teenager. At High-A ball in 2013 he mashed 19 bombs and 33 doubles in 125 games. At Double-A in 2014, he went deep 19 times with 19 more two-baggers in 67 games.


His impressive pop, combined with the failed Kendrys Morales experiment, compelled the Twins to call Vargas up directly from Double-A last year, and he added nine more homers in 53 games to finish the year with a total of 26 as a 23-year-old.


As encouraging as the immediate power production was the fact that Vargas batted .274 and got on base at a non-disastrous .316 clip, helping alleviate concerns surrounding his plate discipline. Unfortunately, those concerns reemerged this year when Vargas was named full-time DH out of the gates and struggled mightily in April, batting .172 while striking out 21 times and walking only five times in 69 plate appearances. He rebounded a bit in May but was demoted to the minors midway through the month anyway.


Vargas obliterated Triple-A pitching for a few weeks, with a 922 OPS in 16 games, and was back up in early June. He looked overmatched in his first handful of games after the recall, but has begun to heat up, with a .360 average and two homers in his last seven games.


Considering his immense strength, Vargas' hot streak should put him squarely on your radar.

Nick Nelson

Nick Nelson is a frequent contributor to NBC Sports Edge's baseball coverage and regularly blogs about the Minnesota Twins at Twins Daily. Follow him on Twitter @NickNelsonMN.