Tigers Minor League Report: Riley Greene
Jason Ross Jr.
Detroit Tigers prospect Riley Greene was tabbed early on as a player who possessed the 'hit gene'. His dad, Alan, who played collegiate baseball for Florida Institute of Technology, began teaching Riley how to hit a baseball at the age of four.
The tutelage didn't stop throughout his teenage years when Riley eventually blossomed into the Tigers' No. 5 overall draft pick in 2019. Greene,19, is now the Tigers' No. 4 overall prospect in their farm system that was recently ranked fifth by the MLB pipeline.
The .422 batting average, eight homers, 27 RBIs and 13 stolen bases on 13 attempts in Greene's senior high school season played a large role in what made him so enticing. Couple those numbers with a Tigers farm system that possessed highly revered pitching, but lacked a certain pop, and Riley Greene became an ideal option.
Scouts projected Greene to be an average defender coming out of high school. He was labeled by some as not quite fast enough, so he promptly utilized that as fuel to evolve into the dynamic, uber-athletic outfielder that we've already seen glimpses of over the past year.
"I wanted to prove them wrong," said Greene. "I wanted to be the guy that took the criticism and turned it into a good thing."
He showcased his range and leaping ability in Tigers Summer Camp with a viral catch in center field that robbed C.J. Cron of a home run.
His seemingly innate instincts in the outfield are a part of what makes Greene so well-rounded. The angles he takes, his reads off the bat, and the excellent jumps he often gets on balls can atone for not possessing plus-plus speed.
After selecting Greene in 2019, the Tigers followed suit in 2020 by choosing another coveted bat in the form of first baseman Spencer Torkelson, who leapfrogged Casey Mize into the role of the Tigers' No.1 prospect.
Mize took the mound against the White Sox on Friday night and carried a no-hit bid into the sixth inning. The 23-year-old showed another glimpse of why he could be a future ace.
Earlier this season, Mize resided in Toledo, where the Tigers alternate training site is located at Fifth Third Field. That's where Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene are currently working toward fulfilling their dreams of taking a spot in the Tigers lineup.
Hall of Famer and former Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell has kept a watchful eye on Riley Greene during his role of training prospects in Toledo.
"He's doing quite well. I will say that this kid is ahead of the curve, so to speak," said Trammell when asked about Greene. "Again, this experience that he's gaining this year is invaluable, but he's not quite ready. Let's just leave it at that. But he's a fine young man and he's played very down in Toledo."
We may have to wait a bit longer until Greene is ready for a shot at the bigs, but this unusual summer has offered reps in the batter's box against pitchers on the brink of reaching the Major League level.
Quick Video hits:
- Riley Greene posted a slash line of .271/.347/.403 while competing for the Gulf Coast League Tigers (9 games), Low-A Connecticut (24 games) and Single-A West Michigan(24 games).
- The 19-year old homered in his 2020 Spring Training debut, ultimately recording two home runs and a .417 batting average in seven games.
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