Detroit Tigers Top 25 Prospects: #22 Grayson Greiner

Feb 28, 2015; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Grayson Greiner (72) poses during Photo day at Joker Merchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 28, 2015; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Grayson Greiner (72) poses during Photo day at Joker Merchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Tigers minor league catcher Grayson Greiner made the jump to Triple-A Toledo last season. He ranks 22nd on Motor City Bengals’ list of the franchise’s top 25 prospects.

Detroit Tigers fans haven’t seen the team develop many prospects in recent seasons.

While the likes of Nick Castellanos, Drew Smyly and Devon Travis have developed into quality big league regulars, there have been plenty of prospects who have yet to stick in the Majors.

The likes Jacob Turner, Andy Oliver, Avisail Garcia and Casey Crosby haven’t had the Major League careers that many envisioned when the quartet were top prospects in the Detroit system.

However, despite the struggles, the Tigers have at least consistently developed Major League talent at one position—catcher.

Alex Avila was drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 and draft and made his Major League debut during the 2009 season.

By 2011, the backstop earned All-Star and Silver Slugger honors while finishing 12th in the MVP voting.

James McCann, a former second-round pick in 2011, has quickly developed into one of baseball’s elite defensive catchers.

Last season, the 26-year-old finished as a finalist for the American League Gold Glove at his position.

While McCann is likely entrenched as the starter in the Motor City for the foreseeable future, the next Tigers catcher who could make an impact in the Majors is Grayson Greiner.

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Greiner’s Professional Career So Far

Selected in the third round in 2014, Greiner made his professional debut in 2014 with West Michigan.

A defensive backstop, the University of South Carolina product batted a solid .322 with an .839 OPS in 26 games. He also chipped in with 16 RBI and seven extra-base hits.

The 2015 season saw the 24-year-old move to Lakeland, where he struggled with a .183 batting average and a .504 OPS in 89 games. Additionally, the catcher only managed 21 RBI and 15 extra-base hits.

While he struggled in 2015, Greiner rebounded nicely last season, making the jump all the way to Triple-A.

While the catcher only appeared in one game with the Mud Hens, he still turned in a quality campaign split between three levels.

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In 91 games with Lakeland, Erie and Toledo, Greiner turned in a .293 batting average, a .763 OPS and 42 RBI. He also added 15 doubles, seven home runs and three triples.

Potential Role in 2017 With the Detroit Tigers

Had the Tigers not brought back Alex Avila, Greiner could have conceivably been in consideration for the backup catcher job.

He and John Hicks likely would have been two of the more likely candidates for the role.

With Avila back in the Motor City, the young catcher will likely begin next season in the upper minors.

Should an injury occur to either McCann or Avila, Greiner could be called up. He’ll obviously have to vault Hicks in the organizational pecking order, but the potential is there.

Potential Future Role With the Detroit Tigers

Considering Avila is 29 and Hicks is 27, there’s a very real chance Grayson Greiner could settle in as James McCann’s long-term backup.

He’d give Detroit two defensive-minded backstops with the ability to contribute at the plate.

Possibly the team’s next-best catching prospect, Arvicent Perez, recently wrapped up his first full season with Single-A West Michigan.

Next: Tigers #23 Prospect Gerson Moreno

In other words, Greiner could claim the job sooner rather than later.