The Milwaukee Brewers don't have to worry about how Scooter Gennett
would handle a long drought at the plate. He's already gone through one.
Gennett, ranked as the Brewers' No. 4 prospect by MLB.com, was hitting .314 in mid-May when he suddenly couldn't buy a hit. He finished the month in a 3-for-40 swoon as the Brevard County second baseman's averaging fell to .259.
"I only struck out three times, but everything I hit somebody caught," Gennett said. "It got to be funny. I couldn't get mad, because I know that doesn't help. So I just had to laugh. I knew that I would come out of it."
Gennett, 21, did just that and, after a long climb, had his average back up to .310 thanks to a .429 average over his first 13 games of August.
"I try to take the positive out of everything, and I consider it a good experience," Gennett said of his slump. "I knew it was just a hiccup, that I was hitting in bad luck. I stayed focused. I showed myself and the team that I could handle a little adversity."
Gennett, listed at 5-foot-9, fell to the 16th round of the 2009 Draft after committing to a scholarship at Florida State. But the Brewers got him to sign just before the deadline with a bonus of $260,000, and he appears to have been a bargain.
The left-handed hitter batted .309 with Wisconsin last season in his Minor League debut and made the mid-season and postseason Midwest League All-Star Teams. He also was selected for the Florida State League All-Star Game this year, despite his May skid.
Gennett has surprising pop for his size, accumulating 52 extra-base hits, including 39 doubles, a year ago. This season, he has 14 doubles, five triples and nine homers for the Manatees, drawing 21 walks and striking out 54 times.
With Gennett, his defense is more a work in progress than his offense. He committed 22 errors last season while converting from shortstop to second base and has 21 errors this year for the Manatees.
With his lack of height, Gennett draws comparisons to other smallish second baseman, including Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox. Maybe size doesn't really matter.
"He's shown you don't have to be a big guy," Gennett said of Pedroia. "But just because he's made it, it doesn't mean I will. You have to put in the work, just like he did."
Gennett, whose first name is Ryan, already has a Major League nickname. But he didn't get it from his hustle on the baseball field. It comes from his love of Muppet Babies as a child, and his quick thinking.
"It's a funny story," Gennett said. "I was 4 or 5 and I kept unclicking my car seat. My mom was determined to teach me a lesson, and she told me she was taking me to the police station if I didn't stop. I didn't, so she did. I was scared. I thought I'd better come up with an alias, so when the policeman asked me my name, I said 'Scooter.' I guess it paid off, because I didn't get arrested. After that, I wouldn't answer to Ryan anymore. I was just Scooter."
Now Gennett is trying to scoot to Milwaukee as fast as he can. He's already managed to stay on course despite an early curve in the road.
Lee moves up: The Rays promoted Charlotte shortstop Hak-Ju Lee to Double-A Montgomery, depriving the Florida State League of one of its most exciting players. The native of South Korea, ranked as Tampa Bay's No. 3 prospect by MLB.com, batted .317 with 11 triples and stole 28 bases for the Stone Crabs while also dazzling on defense.
Home run race: Jupiter outfielder Kyle Jensen, one homer behind Dunedin's Brad Glenn for the league home run lead, was promoted by the Marlins to Double-A Jacksonville. Jensen led the league with a .535 slugging mark and was hitting .309 with 22 homers and 69 RBIs.
Molina promoted: The Blue Jays moved Nestor Molina up from Dunedin to Double-A New Hampshire. The right-hander definitely earned the promotion, going 10-3 with a 2.58 ERA after starting the season in the bullpen. Molina struck out 115 and walked just 14 in 108 1/3 innings.