Ryan "Scooter" Gennett made a name for himself as a child, and the trend has followed him into adulthood. The young second baseman is emerging as one of the top infield prospects in Milwaukee's organization.
"I think after my first full season I had a lot to bring into my second year, which was last year," Gennett, 21, said. "I think I have even more things to improve on and work on in the offseason to get ready for next year."
Gennett spent 2010 with Class A Wisconsin and a year later, he hit .300 in 134 games for Class A Advanced Brevard County in the Florida State League. A midseason and postseason FSL All-Star, he scored 74 runs, hit 20 doubles and drove in 51 runs for Brevard County.
"I'm not going to say I'm satisfied," Gennett said. "You can never be satisfied in this game until you are a veteran in the big leagues, but it's nice being able to prove people wrong. I think it's actually a good thing to have to prove people wrong every now and then."
Gennett's success continued in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .411 in 22 games for the Peoria Javelinas. He hopes the experience helps him as he makes the transition to Double-A in 2012.
"The competition is a lot better [in the AFL], but it's also a different atmosphere. In a Minor League game you have a starter that goes six innings and maybe one or two guys that come out of the bullpen," he said. "It's a different type of baseball. Seeing guys I don't normally see is really the biggest adjustment."
As for the moniker, Gennett said that "Scooter" is his given name.
"I gave it to myself," he said. "My parents didn't give it to me. I gave it to myself when I was 5. I was a big fan of the Muppet Babies and that was my favorite character."
Top 10 Review
There are a lot of things going right in Milwaukee's Minor League system, especially on the mound. Starting with Wily Peralta, the organization had several right-handed pitching prospects make their mark during the 2011 season.
Peralta, 22, spent most of last season at Double-A Huntsville, going 9-7 with a 3.46 ERA in 119 2/3 innings for the Stars. He also went 2-0 with 2.03 ERA in 31 innings for Nashville before being promoted to Triple-A in August. Overall, he established a career-high with 150 2/3 innings pitched.
Right-handed pitcher Tyler Thornburg made 12 starts for Wisconsin and 12 starts for Brevard County, finishing with an overall mark of 10-6 with a 2.57 ERA in 136 2/3 innings pitched in 2011. A third round Draft pick by the Brewers in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Thornburg earned a spot in the Futures Game.
MLB.com's choice for Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010, right-hander Kyle Heckathorn went 5-6 with a 3.95 ERA in 15 starts for Brevard County, but went 0-4 in seven starts at Huntsville. He finished the season on the disabled list.
Righty Amaury Rivas could help the big league club in 2012. He went 7-12 with a 4.72 ERA in 28 starts (150 2/3 innings) for Triple-A last season and continues to hone his repertoire.
Having consistent command of his pitches has been an issue for right-hander Cody Scarpetta in the past, but he continues to work on his craft. He went 8-5 with a 3.85 in 23 starts for Double-A in 2011 and is making progress.
Fellow right-handed pitcher Jimmy Nelson powered through 146 innings for Class A Wisconsin. He has the durability and stuff to become a mainstay in the middle or back of a starting rotation, but could also have a future as a reliever.
Organizational Players of the Year
MLB.com's Preseason Picks
Hitter of the Year -- Gennett, 2B:
"Scooter" is one scrappy player. The high-energy infielder lived up to his nickname and hit .300 in 134 games in the Florida State League in 2011.
Pitcher of the Year -- Nelson, RHP:
Nelson was efficient last season, going 8-9 with a 4.38 ERA in 25 starts/26 appearances for Class A Wisconsin in 2011. He struck out 120 batters, walked 65 and gave up 146 hits in 146 innings.
MLB.com's Postseason Selections
Hitter of the Year -- Taylor Green, 3B:
The Brewers' Minor League Player of the Year in 2007 also won the award after a stellar campaign in 2011 that saw him lead the system with a .336 batting average, rank third in homers with 22 and rank second in RBIs with 91. Green, who made his debut with the big league club in August, was also named a Pacific Coast League Postseason All-Star. It's been quite a journey for Green, who was limited to 93 games in 2009 and 113 games in 2010 because of a left wrist injury.
Pitcher of the Year -- Peralta, RHP:
Peralta had a season to remember. The right-hander ranked second in the system with 150 2/3 innings, second with 157 strikeouts and ranked third with a 3.17 ERA while pitching in Double-A and Triple-A in 2011.