Riley Greene Shows Off Defensive Potential
While Riley Greene had aspirations of patrolling a major league outfield, the thought of doing so nearly one year out of high school wasn’t part of the original plan.
The 19-year-old Greene was among the minor leaguers invited to summer camp as part of the Tigers’ 60-man player pool. For the 6-foot-3, 200-pound outfielder, the opportunity to show off his defensive prowess wasn’t one he planned to take for granted, and he solidified his skill during one particular intrasquad contest.
On the mound, lefthander Gregory Soto fired a slider to C.J. Cron with Greene watching from the outfield.
“When I saw it come out of his hand and I was like, “There's no shot he's hitting this,' ” Greene said. “But he hit it.”
Greene, the fifth overall pick last year out of Hagerty High in Oviedo, Fla., was positioned in left-center field and knew the ball had a chance to clear the wall, but wasn't sure until he got closer.
“I ran over there, and it gave me time to get to the fence,” Greene said. “I was watching the ball and I peeked at the fence a couple of times. Then right before I got through the fence, I peeked again and I just jumped and put my glove out and I caught it.”
Getting to the clubhouse after the game, Greene realized the team wasn’t the only party impressed when Mike Trout’s name came across Greene’s cellphone Twitter notifications.
“I was like, 'Bro, look who just commented on the post,' ” Greene said, showing the notification to a teammate. “That was really cool just being able to be noticed by one of the best players to ever play the game.”
Reassigned to the Tigers’ alternate training site in Toledo on July 20, Greene took the transition in stride, shifting his focus to the next phase of his personal development after hitting .271/.347/.403 between three levels in 2019.
"My goal is to build a routine that will help me stay consistent throughout the whole year," Greene said.
— Following a challenging 2019 minor league campaign, both Beau Burrows and Kyle Funkhouser were rewarded for their strong intrasquad work with a selection to the Tigers' 30-man Opening Day roster. The righthanders entered their careers as rotation arms, but after facing health and inconsistency issues, they made the team as relievers.
— After spending the entire 2019 season with Double-A Erie, outfielder Derek Hill was added to the 60-man player pool and quickly put on a defensive showcase in the Comerica Park outfield. While Hill’s contact rate is still a question mark, his defensive ability in center field is among the very best in the organization. The Tigers held onto Hill for their initial taxi squad for the 60-game regular season.