We’re already starting to get comfortable seeing Riley Greene in the mix with the Detroit Tigers’ major league squad. The 19-year-old, selected fifth overall in the 2019 draft, has done nothing but impress in his time as a professional. He impressed again on Monday in intrasquad action.
In the early going, it looked like the best defensive play was going to go to center field prospect Derek Hill, as it often does. Hill snared a sinking liner with a diving grab to steal a single early in Monday morning’s intrasquad game streamed on FOX Sports Detroit.
Derek Hill with another nice diving grab. pic.twitter.com/lsEdB3MKTU— Chris Brown (@ChrisBrown0914) July 13, 2020
However, Riley Greene was not to be outdone today. He went to the wall of the home bullpen, leapt, and pulled off a spectacular catch to rescue reliever Gregory Soto from a towering golf shot off the bat of first baseman C.J. Cron.
Just a spectacular effort from Greene there as he continues to prove he’s a lot more than just a high-end bat. It’s also great to hear the exuberance from his teammates on both sides of the game. They weren’t the only ones who took notice.
— Mike Trout (@MikeTrout) July 13, 2020
Greene wasn’t done either. He came through an inning later with two men on, facing long-lost starting pitching prospect Franklin Perez. The kid is doing it all and it’s pretty exciting to contemplate his future in Detroit.
Riley Greene with a 2-run single off Franklin Perez. pic.twitter.com/g1nWD0cOu1— Chris Brown (@ChrisBrown0914) July 13, 2020
-Michael Fulmer gave up a couple of runs, but looked reasonably good again in this one. He’s clearly not quite at full power, but he broke out a few of his rarely seen knuckle-curves, a pitch we would like to see more of paired with his fourseamer. His command was spotty, but overall he’s healthy and looks to be throwing the ball well. That’s all we can ask for early in the comeback.
-Franklin Perez was also a sight for sore eyes. The one-time centerpiece of the Justin Verlander trade, Perez has barely been on the mound in his three years with the Tigers’ organization due to ongoing shoulder issues. Yet in his brief appearances in the minors, he’s continued to show the command and fastball-changeup combination that made him such a tantalizing pitching prospect at just 19 years of age.
Now 22, Perez has been written off until he shows the ability to hold up to regular work, and we’ll stick with that assessment for now. But it is good to see him back throwing well. The location wasn’t great, and he hung a couple of loopy breaking balls that were hit hard, but the fastball and changeup both looked good, as did the powerful delivery and tricky arm slot produced by his muscular 6’5” frame. It’s hard to know what to make of Perez at this point, but we’re just glad to see him pitching. Hopefully it lasts.
-Jake Rogers’ lower hands and lack of leg kick have him looking pretty comfortable in the batter’s box. His stroke is flatter and he appears to be able to keep the barrel in the hitting zone a little longer. It’s early, yes, but it’s also pretty encouraging after his rough debut late last season.
-RHP Zack Godley was granted his unconditional release by the Tigers on Monday. Godley actually looked better than he had in the spring, but not enough to impress the Tigers’ coaching staff. Godley had an opt-out date coming up, and the club decided to give him time to catch on elsewhere. What they do with the spots they’ve opened by releasing Godley, and earlier, Alex Wilson, will be a point of interest in the next 10 days as they ramp up to Opening Day.