Detroit Tigers Best Hit Tools: Number 1
1 – Riley Greene – OF
Riley Greene is the best hitter in the Detroit Tigers system, and one of the best hitters in all of minor-league baseball. He batted .301/.387/.534 between Double-A and Triple-A last year, and he was one of just two 20-year-olds who saw significant time in Triple-A in 2021:
Not too shabby.
Riley Greene isn’t a perfect hitter — his strikeout rate is mildly concerning — but he has everything he needs to be a plus hitter at the big-league level. He handles velocity, identifies pitches well, hits the ball incredibly hard, and makes good adjustments. The video below does a good job of demonstrating all these skills:
Grayson Rodriguez is the top pitching prospect in baseball, and it’s not hard to see why. In the first at-bat he blows Greene away with upper-90s fastballs above the belt, but watch how Greene adjusts in his second AB. This time Rodriguez breaks out a sweeping slider and diving changeup, but again tries to finish with high heat. Greene lays off 98 at the letters, stays away from a yanked slider, and then turns on another fastball for a hard single up the middle. Rodriguez missed his spot, but 98 on the inside corner is still good enough to get most minor-league hitters.
The third at-bat ends in another Greene strikeout, but it’s still a lot of fun. Greene gets ahead 3-0, and uses that advantage as an opportunity to launch. He swings under a 96MPH heater that would have been ball four, and then hits a 350-foot foul ball on a middle-middle heater at 97. Then he fights off a dastardly changeup at 84 before swinging over a nasty 85-mph breaking ball. Going 1-for-3 with 2Ks and a single doesn’t seem like the most productive day at the dish, but in a lot of years a .333 average is good enough to win a batting title, and Riley Greene has the skill to do just that some day.