Detroit Tigers fans seem pretty excited about Riley Greene. Find any clip of Greene on Twitter and you’ll see a handful of fans demanding the Tigers call up their young outfielder immediately.
That enthusiasm is understandable. We ranked Riley Greene as our #1 Detroit Tigers prospect because we think his bat is as good or better than Spencer Torkelson’s, and we project him to offer more value from his speed and defense.
But Riley Greene’s start to the 2021 season was just okay. He did hit a big grand slam early in the the year, but through 13 games he was batting a pedestrian .226/.311/.321.
That’s completely understandable for any 20-year-old in Double-A, let alone one with just 220 career at-bats heading into the season. But it wasn’t good enough for Greene, so he did what any superstitious baseball player would do.
Riley Greene slept with his bat.
According to MLB.com, Greene wasn’t happy with his performance:
"“I hadn’t been swinging it the way I want to swing it,” Greene said after Thursday’s victory. “I’m a very superstitious guy, so being me, I brought home my bat and slept with it for the night. I woke up the next morning, and I was literally like cuddling the bat. Like I woke up and I was like, ‘What has my life come to?’"
Greene’s wholesome slumpbuster seems to have done the trick. On Wednesday night he went 3-for-5 for Erie, knocking in all five of the team’s runs, including a game-tying hit in the 7th, and the game-winner in the 9th. He also stole his third base of the season.
Then on Thursday Riley Greene went 2-for-3 with two home runs, two walks, another stolen base, and an outfield assist. It was as complete a performance as he’s had all season.
Riley Greene’s OPS has jumped nearly .200 points since his Louisville slumber party. He is one of four players in the Double-A Northeast League with at least three home runs and three steals, and his 14 RBIs rank third in the league.
A few more weeks like this and Greene may find himself sleeping with a bat in Detroit.