A Simplified Approach Pays Off For Grayson Greiner

He was only in Triple-A for a week, but catcher Grayson Greiner noticed the stadiums and crowds.

“A little bit bigger than Double-A, a little bit nicer, a little bit more fans,” the 25-year-old said. “It was just cool to see.”

Greiner should get used to it because he will open next season as the starting catcher at Triple-A Toledo.

“He’s in a really good place,” farm director Dave Owen said. “He’s always been the type of guy who we knew was going to put his work in, and he has. He’s really just one of the guys who has great makeup—and I don’t use that term loosely.”

The Tigers added Greiner to the 40-man roster in November, and though it’s not the call he’s been waiting for his whole life, the roster designation provides extra motivation this offseason.

“Knowing the Tigers believed in me to put me on the roster is a very satisfying feeling,” said Greiner, a 2014 third-round pick out of South Carolina, “and it really motivates me to work harder than I’ve ever worked before.”

Greiner in 2017 followed a similar path as Tigers starting catcher James McCann, who struggled through the first half of the season before salvaging his season with a strong finish.

Greiner hit .241/.323/.436 with 14 home runs in 98 games at Double-A Erie. Heading into June, though, his average sat below .200 with little to no power. That’s when a minor mechanical adjustment passed along by hitting coach Phil Clark—who has since been promoted to big league assistant hitting coach—changed his season.

“Something as simple as keeping my chin on my shoulder through the swing a little bit,” Greiner said. “So every time I went up to the plate, that was the only thing I thought about. It simplified a lot of things in my mind. I saw pitches better and it seemed to work so I stuck with it.”

Greiner is the oldest of the Tigers’ wave of young catchers, which was fortified in August by the Justin Verlander trade with the Astros in which Detroit added 22-year-old catcher Jake Rogers.

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