Top Tigers pick Greene ticks off firsts

Fifth overall pick records inaugural NYPL home run, stolen base

Riley Greene has batted .400 in seven games since his promotion from the Gulf Coast League. (Kevin Pataky/

By Dan Stokes / | July 16, 2019 12:55 AM

Riley Greene has pounced on New York-Penn League pitchers since his promotion from the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. But he hadn't homered on the circuit until Monday.

The fifth overall pick in June's First-Year Player Draft went yard and drove in four runs as Class A Short Season Connecticut downed Tri-City, 14-10, at Dodd Stadium. 

Gameday box score

Greene began his night with a line-drive double to center field on an 1-0 pitch by right-hander Kyle Serrano in the first inning.

After four straight Tigers reached base in the second, the 18-year-old followed with an RBI single to right off righty Derek West. Greene displayed his speed by swiping second, his first professional stolen base. Greene ended up on third base after a throwing error by catcher Korey Lee, the 32nd overall pick by Houston in June. 

"When it comes to hitting, it's contagious," the native of Orlando, Florida, said. "Once one person gets a hit or gets on base, the next person wants to do the same and keep the line moving." 

But the last hit of the game was Greene's biggest of the night. He belted a two-run tater to right-center against righty Miguel Figueroa in the third inning -- his third career long ball .

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound left-handed hitter struck out in the fourth, grounded into a forceout in the sixth and whiffed in the eighth.

"Baseball is a crazy sport," he said. "You can start off hot like I did tonight, but you can end up grounding out or striking out." 

With a team-leading 20 RBIs, Greene guided USA Baseball 18U National squad to gold at the 2018 Pan-American Championships.

"I think my experiences with USA Baseball really helped me prepare for this season," he said. "The coaching was great. They helped me stay back on pitches and stay humble."

2019 MiLB include

Before signing with Detroit, the Hagerty High School (Florida) product was committed to play for the University of Florida. 

Since his promotion to Connecticut on July 7, Greene is batting .400 with 12 hits, eight runs scored and six RBIs in eight games. 

But despite the early success, he's trying to stay on an even keel.

"It's just numbers," Greene laughed. "Every day is a new day. I just try to be better. I just go out there and try to have fun and keep getting hits." 

Dan Stokes is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @ByDanStokes. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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