Greene masters wind to make stellar grab

Detroit Tigers

March 31: Greene makes highlight catch vs. Jays
Riley Greene watched how the blustery winds handled fly balls in batting practice Thursday and knew he was in for an adventure.

“The wind was insane today,” Greene said. “During BP, I was just sitting there laughing. There were fly balls hit to the middle of the outfield, and they were landing in the infield. So I’m sitting there just laughing.”

The joke was nearly on him in a rare start in right field. What looked like a routine line drive from Bo Bichette ended up tailing, requiring Greene to make a leaping highlight catch to deny the Blue Jays at least one run and help starting pitcher Matt Manning out of a jam.

“I thought it was hit right at him, and then it started slowing down and drifting right,” Manning said. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ It was a great play.”

Though the winds were gusting in from right field, Bichette’s line drive had an exit velocity of 107.4 miles per hour according to Statcast. It also didn’t have much altitude.

“I kind of just sat there, because I was trying to see what it was going to do. I thought it was just routine; it was going to fade towards the line and I was in the right spot. And it kept going, so I had to recover, and I laid out and caught it.

“In BP, balls were kind of dying. That ball took off.”

A higher-hit ball from Santiago Espinal the next inning did die between Greene and first baseman Spencer Torkelson for a single. Greene enacted his revenge at the plate with a line-drive double to right off Blue Jays reliever Julian Merryweather.

March 30: Greene stays hot with two more hits
As Opening Day inches closer, Riley Greene’s Grapefruit League performance will be harder for the Tigers to ignore. MLB Pipeline’s No. 5 overall prospect singled, doubled and scored a run in Wednesday’s matchup with the Phillies. Greene is batting .412/.500/1.000 with five extra-base hits — including two home runs — five runs and four RBIs in 17 Spring Training at-bats. The 21-year-old has collected a hit in six of his nine appearances this spring.

March 29: Is Greene closing in on a roster spot?
As Spring Training began, Tigers officials were candid in saying that top prospects Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene would be given genuine opportunities to make the Opening Day roster.

One week before the start of a highly anticipated season in Detroit, the close friends are on the verge of fulfilling their dream of debuting together in the Major Leagues.

To the extent that Greene, 21, and Torkelson, 22, have been tasked with playing their way onto the Major League club, the numbers suggest they are doing so. Torkelson has an .851 OPS while accumulating the most at-bats of any Tiger in Grapefruit League play. As of March 29, Greene’s 1.383 OPS was the second highest of any Spring Training hitter who had yet to debut in the Majors (min. 15 spring at-bats).

“We want them to make the team,” Tigers general manager Al Avila told MLB.com. “That’s our hope. That would mean they’ve been successful and are in a position to help us make the playoffs this year.” Full story »

March 18: Greene goes back-to-back with Baddoo
Starting in center field and batting second for the Tigers on Friday, Riley Greene made the most of his opportunity by swatting an opposite-field tater on an 0-2 fastball, going back-to-back with outfielder Akil Baddoo. The 21-year-old was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat and was pinch-hit for in the fifth inning, ending a solid spring debut. Greene showcased his combination of power and speed in 2021, recording 24 homers, 25 doubles and 16 stolen bases in his first full season. Greene should get an opportunity to help Detroit contend for a postseason spot as he is expected to make his Major League debut in 2022.

March 17: Greene jumps up to No. 5 on Top 100 list
At long last, we are ready to unveil MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list. And with a full Minor League season in 2021, there are sure to be plenty of changes in this year’s list compared to a year ago.

With graduations, performances and an influx of new talent via the Draft and international signings, there was a lot to consider when constructing this year’s Top 100. For the first time in a very long time, the list is not topped by Rays phenom Wander Franco. And for the first time ever, the top eight players are all from the same league.

Franco was our No. 1 prospect for four straight lists, from the 2019 midseason to the ’21 preseason rankings, before graduating off the list during the ’21 season. He’s handed off to another shortstop, Royals future star Bobby Witt Jr., who leads a Top 10 that features eight American Leaguers, including a pair of Orioles and Tigers. Full story »

March 16: Greene ranked No. 2 OF prospect
Once again the list of baseball’s top 10 outfield prospects is loaded with elite talent. An outfielder has won a Rookie of the Year award in four of the past five seasons and it would hardly be a shock to see that streak continue as six of these 10 prospects are expected to reach the Majors this season.

Riley Greene, who moved up from No. 6 a year ago to No. 2, is the only other holdover from last year’s list. There may be eight new names on the list, but the turnover certainly doesn’t indicate a drop in talent. All 10 prospects rank among the top 52 on the overall Top 100 and six of the eight draftees were first-round picks. Full story »

March 11: Greene gets jump-start on spring at minicamp
For most Detroit prospects, minicamp was a head start on their Minor League seasons. For some, it was preparation for their first full seasons as professionals. For Ryan Kreidler, Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene and perhaps others, minicamp was a jump-start on what is expected to be a chance in Spring Training with the big club, and an opportunity to begin staking a claim on a spot in Detroit, either as part of the Opening Day roster or during the season.

It’s a unique situation created by roster status and experience level. While the trio is expected to be part of Major League camp as non-roster invitees, none of the players are on the 40-man roster. Since they were all drafted since 2019, they didn’t have to be added last fall to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. Full story »

March 7: Q&A: Torkelson, Greene talk friendship and more
LAKELAND, Fla. — Riley Greene was the Tigers’ first-round pick in 2019, taken No. 5 overall. Spencer Torkelson was the No. 1 overall pick, taken a year later. The two hitters have formed a close bond rising up through Detroit’s system together and both are knocking on the big league door.

Jonathan Mayo: I know people probably talked to you guys about each other, but how often do you guys get to talk to each other about each other? You guys have sort of been able to come up together to a certain extent. Was there a moment where you guys solidified the — we’ll call it the bromance, why not?

Spencer Torkelson: Well, it started in instructs. After the Draft, that whole COVID year was a little different. We got to the [alternate] site together, but that was tough. It was tough to build a relationship. With masks, you couldn’t see if they’re smiling, but at instructs it was really cool. I didn’t have my car down here, so Riley was my ride. That’s where the bromance started I’d say. Full story »

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