Milwaukee prospect Scooter Gennett has shown his ability to hit with power and run the bases with conviction during his first two years in the Minors. On Sunday, he put both skills on display for his big league peers.
MLB.com's No. 6 Brewers prospect pulled an eighth-inning homer down the right-field line to complete his bid for the cycle in a 7-3 split-squad Cactus League victory over the Kansas City Royals in Surprise, Ariz.
"I've never hit for the cycle," Gennett told MLB.com. "This is the first time."
Batting second between Major League outfielders Nyjer Morgan and Travis Ishikawa, Gennett tripled to right field off Kansas City starter Felipe Paulino in the first inning, and he came around to score the game's opening run two batters later when Paulino's wild pitch allowed Gennett to scamper home from third.
In the second frame, Gennett -- making a rare spring start -- worked the count full against Paulino (0-1) before plating Edwin Maysonet from second base with a one-out ground-rule double to right-center.
After striking out against Tommy Hottovy to lead off the fourth, second baseman Gennett slapped the first pitch he saw from Jonathan Broxton -- a fastball that clocked in at 92 mph -- the opposite way to left field.
With a runner on first base and one out in the ninth, the Florida native wrote his name into the spring record book with a deep drive over the right-field wall off reliever Louis Coleman. He said he wasn't trying to drive the ball out of the park.
"Not really, cause every time I try to hit a home run, I end up rolling over or striking out," Gennett told MLB.com. "So I was just trying to put a good at-bat together and try to hit the ball hard."
The 21-year-old, who entered the day 1-for-5 in four Spring Training games, is now batting .500.
Selected by Milwaukee in the 16th round of the 2009 Draft out of Sarasota High School in Florida, Gennett has impressed at every level he has played.
In 2010, Gennett hit .309 with 55 RBIs, nine homers, 39 doubles and 14 stolen bases in 18 attempts for the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers en route to being named to the Midwest League's mid- and postseason All-Star teams.
Last season the former Aflac All-American hit .300 with 51 RBIs, nine homers, six triples and 11 steals for the Class A Advanced Brevard County Manatees in the Florida State League. Selected to the league's two All-Star teams again, Gennett was named the organization's top-performing second baseman by MiLB.com.
"Scooter understands what it takes to hit," Minor League hitting coordinator Darnell Coles told MiLB.com in November. "He's just a pure hitter. He methodically works himself around the field and knows what he needs to do to prepare every day. He loves to hit in clutch situations, and he wants to be the guy. He thrives on it. He's pretty special."
Twice last year -- in a 4-3 win at home to Tampa on June 26 and in an 11-4 loss to Clearwater on July 6 -- Gennett fell a triple shy of his first cycle as a professional.
"He can hit," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told MLB.com. "Reid [Nichols, Milwaukee's farm director] said two years ago, 'This guy is going to hit in the big leagues.' He's always hit."
The Brewers' No. 5 prospect Taylor Green almost matched Gennett's feat. He had an RBI triple in the first, a one-out single in the third and a double in the seventh. He walked on six pitches in the ninth against Kelvin Herrera.