The Detroit Tigers enter Wednesday with three wins in four games of Grapefruit League play for a meaningless, yet encouraging, beginning to the spring training season. While the Tigers are off to a strong start, one of their top prospects is absolutely scorching coming out of the gates.
Riley Greene, Detroit’s first-round pick in 2019 and fifth-overall selection, has started spring on a tear and has been making quite an impression on fans and the media alike. His prodigious dingers and impressive catches have captivated his audience thus far, fueling fever dreams of a rapid ascension for the outfield prospect. To heap on even more hype, Greene is currently in a tie for the Grapefruit League in home runs.
.@Greene21Riley is tied for the Grapefruit League lead in home runs.— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) February 25, 2020
Riley Greene is 19. #TigersST pic.twitter.com/I7H9opzbgc
To be fair, the spring schedule is only four days old and Greene has not been facing the most difficult of competition, but so far he has been on quite a roll. In fact, his performance has him rubbing elbows with the big boys, including Hall of Fame slugger Miguel Cabrera. He offered this anecdote in the article linked above.
“My dad texted me and he said, ‘Dude, I just took a video of Miggy’s homer and you high-fiving him at the plate,’” Greene said. “Awesome. I’ll probably keep that video forever.”
Greene will eventually be relegated to minor league camp, but both he and the fans are enjoying every moment of his time with the big leaguers.
Miggy revered in Tigers’ clubhouse
Speaking of Cabrera, the former triple crown winner has a lot of admiring eyes watching him in the Tigers’ clubhouse this spring. Many of those amazed glazes come from young players who grew up watching him on TV or playing his likeness in video games, and they all are keenly aware of the greatness that graces their presence.
The article by Jeff Seidel includes many quotes from various minor leaguers and prospects about what it is like to share space with a future Hall of Famer. Catcher Brady Policelli best described what working with Cabrera entails.
“You try not to get starstruck. You try to remember you are here with him, you are sharing the same uniform, you are in the same locker room, you are sharing the same field with him.”
Despite being described as an aging “unicorn”, Cabrera still has some star power and baseball prowess left in the tank it appears. He hit his first home run of the spring on Tuesday and so far has batted an even .500 this spring. If the Tigers can get Miggy goin’, this could be a better season than many predict in Detroit.
Castro’s glove back in the mix at shortstop
Willi Castro is a player with a lot of potential and the Tigers top shortstop prospect, but in order for him to make it at the major league level his defense needed some significant tweaking. According to manager Ron Gardenhire, those mechanical flaws have been fixed.
After an awful showing with the glove last season, Gardenhire had infield coach Ramon Santiago work with him on flat-glove drills. After a fielding practice on Monday, the head coach gushed over Castro’s improvement.
“I was really excited. Some of the mechanical things we talked about, they’re gone. All in one winter. … These are the improvements you just love. I told Santy afterwards, ‘He’s got it. He can do that. He can play shortstop with those mechanics.’”
Detroit is in desperate need of positional players developed from within the organization, and if Castro has truly made the necessary changes for him to stick at shortstop, the Tigers would be one step closer to a successful rebuild.
Keith Law’s top 100 prospects
The Tigers have four prospects in Keith Law’s latest top 100 rankings, with all four players packed in the top 50. Mize leads off at No. 20 followed by Tarik Skubal at No. 24, Matt Manning at No. 32 and Riley Greene at No. 41. It is rather interesting to see the team’s prospects all clustered between No. 20 and No. 41, but the results are still encouraging nonetheless.
Try out for the team!
The Tigers will be holding open tryouts for the team on March 9 in Lakeland, Fla.
Information regarding the annual #Tigers open tryouts, which are scheduled to be held on March 9 in Lakeland, FL. pic.twitter.com/WAtCvSD6cU— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) February 26, 2020
It’s going to be a long season for the Astros
Jose Altuve’s first appearance at the plate this spring. #astros pic.twitter.com/axIfy3G1ch— David Nuño (@DavidNunoABC13) February 24, 2020
- 2020 BYB Tigers Prospects #8: C Jake Rogers looks to put it all together. He can field. He has power. He can even walk! But can he hit?
- 2020 BYB Tigers Prospects #7: OF Daz Cameron needs to put it together at the plate. The defense will play, but there are lingering offensive questions in Cameron’s profile.
- 2020 BYB Tigers Prospects #6: LHP Joey Wentz just needs to stay the course. The newly acquired southpaw brings quite a bit to the table.
- BYB 2020 Tigers Prospect #5: Isaac Paredes is mashing his way to Detroit. The precocious infielder has a little work left to do, but the bat is already primed for the next step.
- College baseball round-up: Spencer Torkelson homered again. Torkelson is off to a torrid start in 2020.
Around the horn
The Astros’ scandal isn’t going away and neither are the Astros. Madison Bumgarner addresses rodeo rumors amid reports. A belated farewell to Mookie Betts from a Red Sox fan. Cold take: making home field advantage more advantageous.
Baseball is awesome: Riley Greene edition
More Riley Greene dingers, please.
Riley Greene HR pic.twitter.com/BC58zYMuXO— Jed (@TigersJUK) February 23, 2020