Detroit Tigers: Top 20 prospects for 2022 – Part Two
Detroit Tigers No. 1 Prospect – Riley Greene – OF
For the second year in a row, Riley Greene is our number one Detroit Tigers prospect. Last year it was a close call, but this time he garnered 5 of our 6 first-place votes. Just 20, Riley Greene hit .300 with 20+ home runs while playing all of his games at Double-A or higher. Only four other players that young have accomplished this since 2006: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Rafael Devers, Oscar Taveras, and Giancarlo Stanton. And Greene did it after missing an entire season, with just 57 career games under his belt. Greene was terrific through July, hitting .276/.368/.552 in 71 games. Then he went absolutely bonkers, batting .332/.411/.622 over his final 53 games. He also went 16-for-17 on steal attempts, and regularly made spectacular defensive plays in the outfield.
Riley Greene is an outstanding hitter with a rare ability to barrel up the baseball. He hits all kinds of pitches, and all kinds of pitchers, and he swings hard all the time. He did strike out a fair amount last year, and that could be an issue early in his big-league career, but some of that comes from him trying to launch when he gets ahead in counts — he rarely turned down an opportunity to swing 3-0. His raw power nearly rivals that of Spencer Torkelson, and Greene may threaten to hit .300 with 30 home runs in his prime. He has a funky, almost bowlegged stride that belies his slightly above-average speed, and he has proven to be an above-average defender in the outfield thanks to excellent instincts. He may play center field a bit early in his career, but he’ll probably lose a step or two as he ages, and his arm is a bit light, so he likely settles in as a left fielder for the bulk of his career. The solid defense and speed is a plus, but it’s Riley Greene’s bat that could one day have him vying for MVP awards.