The MLB Draft is an exciting time of year for everyone in the baseball community, especially for fans and front offices of teams that have early first round picks. These organizations around the league will be making final decisions and evaluations before the draft. Come draft day, they will be looking to find their next star. One of the prospects that possibly will be taken early in the first round is outfielder and Florida Gator commit Riley Greene.
Riley Greene 2019 MLB Draft Profile
Greene comes into the 2019 draft labeled as one of the purest hitters coming out high school. He cemented his status as a probable early first round pick by impressive showings at several events. One such showing came when he led USA Baseball’s 18 and Under National Team in runs batted in as it won gold in the Pan-American Championships. The youthful outfielder out of Hagerty high school comes into the draft listed at 6’2″ 190 lbs. Since Greene is only 18 years old, he will continue to fill out his athletic body.
Greene has received an abundance of attention from front offices, scouts, and media. He is currently listed as the sixth-best prospect according to MLB.com and was projected to be drafted by the Detroit Tigers as the 5th pick of the draft in CBS Sports latest Mock Draft.
Arguably the most impressive trait that Greene possesses is his bat speed. The smooth, left-handed swing that Greene maintains resulted in an average exit velocity of 100 MPH — above the class average of 83 MPH — as well as having a max barrel speed of 76.651 MPH — above the class average of 64.86 MPH. This powerful swing and ability to square up the baseball will be enticing to plenty of general managers come draft day.
While Greene continues to rake the ball, he also benefits from his great approach and patience at the plate. As a result, this allows him to drive the ball to all parts of the field. This calm approach at the dish that Greene displays has led to praise from scouts and media. Two are Baseball America writers Carlos Collazo and Teddy Cahill. They went on to say, “Greene has arguably the best pure hit tool in the 2019 high school class, with quick hands out of the left-handed batter’s box in addition to a discerning eye at the plate. He appears calm and in control of his at-bats, regardless of the count and has a track record of walking at a high rate.”
For a highly touted prospect like Greene, it’s hard to nitpick many notable weaknesses. However, one substantial flaw in Greene’s game is his lack of speed. Despite running a 6.62 in the 60-yard dash (which is above the class average of 7.22), Greene is viewed by most as a below-average runner, which is a big negative considering his position. His speed received a 45 grade per MLB.com. Due to this, some scouts believe that Greene might be a better option at first base. However, it’s also been said that Greene’s “accurate” arm should be enough to keep at him at one of the corner outfield positions.
A player with similar characteristics to Greene is Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich. Comparing a high school prospect to the 2018 NL MVP is a tall order, but Yelich and Greene both relate to a patient approach and smooth power swing. Maybe the most obvious comparison is their similar frames, with Greene listed at 6’2″ 190 lb, and Yelich listed as 6’3″ 195 lb.
Time will have to tell if Greene is to become a star of Yelich’s caliber. But, if he continues to barrel the ball and draw walks, he will be a potential star for whichever team selects him in June.
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