Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Battle for the Backup Backstop

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NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 01: John Hicks #55 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates his second inning three run home run against the New York Yankees with teammates Miguel Cabrera #24 and James McCann #34 at Yankee Stadium on August 1, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 01: John Hicks #55 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates his second inning three run home run against the New York Yankees with teammates Miguel Cabrera #24 and James McCann #34 at Yankee Stadium on August 1, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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LAKELAND, FL – FEBRUARY 20: Grayson Greiner #17 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a photo during photo days on February 20, 2018 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
LAKELAND, FL – FEBRUARY 20: Grayson Greiner #17 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a photo during photo days on February 20, 2018 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Grayson Greiner

Other than McCann and Hicks, Grayson Greiner is the only other catcher listed on the Detroit Tigers current 40-man roster. Detroit selected Greiner in the third round of the 2014 draft out of South Carolina. As Andy Patton noted earlier this week, 2018 will be an important one for the 25-year old.

In his first four minor league seasons, Greiner has alternated good and bad offensive campaigns. As a rookie in 2014, Greiner went straight to Class A West Michigan and hit .322 in 26 games. He followed that up with just a .183 mark the next year at High-A Lakeland.

A hot start to 2016 with the Flying Tigers saw Greiner jump to Double-A Erie for the first time. Between those two levels, Greiner hit .297 with seven homers and 42 RBI in 90 games. He then wrapped up 2016 with one appearance at Triple-A Toledo and 12 in the Arizona Fall League.

Once again, a down year at the plate followed. While Greiner did launch a career-high 14 homers, his batting average dipped down to .237 between Erie and Toledo.

Defensively, Greiner has thrown out 34% of opposing base stealers in the minors. If that number doesn’t improve, the offense has to look a lot more like it did in 2016 than 2017 for him to keep climbing the ladder.

Greiner may also have to start worrying about Jake Rogers, who was acquired in the deal that saw Justin Verlander dealt to Houston.

Albeit a tiny sample size, Greiner has had a good start this spring. He’s already thrown out an attempted base stealer and collected a pair of hits in five at-bats.

With just six appearances in Toledo so far, Greiner seems likely to start the year with the Mud Hens. He will get his shot with the Tigers at some point in 2018, but probably not right away.

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