Milwaukee likes what it sees from second baseman prospect Scooter Gennett.
By ANDREW GRUMANFS Wisconsin
How exactly did Ryan Gennett come to go by Scooter?
"I gave it to myself when I was about 5," Gennett said of the nickname.
When his mother would try to put his seatbelt on in the car, Gennett would click it off. She'd click it back in. He'd yank it right off. One day she got fed up. She took her son to the local police station to have officers teach him about the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt. When the policeman asked him his name, Gennett responded "Scooter."
"I thought if I told him my real name I was going to get arrested or get in trouble," Gennett said. "The reason I told him Scooter was because my favorite show was the Muppet Babies and that was my favorite character on the show.
"I didn't answer to Ryan for about a year. To get me to do anything they had to call me Scooter and it just stuck."
Seventeen years later,
Scooter Gennett is in his first big league camp with the
Milwaukee Brewers. The second baseman's name is always a topic of conversation but usually is the second thing people notice about him. At 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, Gennett is diminutive. He's quickly dismissed as a legitimate prospect by some simply because of his size, but he's proven doubters wrong every step of the way.
Small or not, he can flat out hit. And Gennett has put up the numbers to support that claim, earning a spot in last year's Futures Game. He's hit .300 over his three years in Milwaukee's minor league system, posting a .293 average with five home runs and 44 RBI last season in Double-A.
Along the way, he's used the naysayers talking about his size as motivation.
"I think everybody at this level has some type of motivation that they can find and they try to use it to their advantage to incorporate in their work ethic," Gennett said. "That's something I take pride in. Staying humble and whatever motivation you can find you have to use it as much as you can."
Though this is his first full big-league camp, Gennett is no stranger to making impressions in spring training. The Brewers brought their top prospect over quite a bit to play in big-league games last season and he performed well, even hitting for the cycle in a spring training game last year.
"A guy with his size, he surprises you sometimes the way he swings the bat," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
"Then it makes us inquire more on the defensive part and guys like him defensively, and he keeps getting better.
"Everybody thinks he's going to hit. We could have a very good everyday player."
The experience of performing well in big-league spring training before gives Gennett confidence, but being with the major league team daily has been a different experience.
"I'm learning a lot of things being around the veteran guys," Gennett said. "You want to absorb as much as you can to incorporate into your game to get better. That's kind of been my focus now, just try to absorb everything and get as good as I can going into the season, wherever that is."
The odds are his season will start in Nashville at the Triple-A level, but where it ends is another story. There's a good chance the 22-year-old could make his major league debut sometime during the the 2013 season, and he just wants to show the Brewers enough during camp to leave them feeling comfortable turning to him in the future.
"I just want to show them what I can do," Gennett said. "I'm trying to just play the best I can and go out there and give it 100 percent. At the end of the day, if all they have to say is that I play the game hard, that's all I can ask.
"That's what I really try to do every day because you never know when things are going to be done. Really I just want to show them how hard I work."
Interviews for this story provided by the Milwaukee Brewers.