Greene selected fifth in MLB Draft


photo by Sharon Sheridan

Hagerty outfielder Riley Greene was selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers on June 3, 2019. He will receive a $6.2 million signing bonus upon signing with the team.

On Monday, June 3, outfielder Riley Greene was selected fifth overall in the MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers. By signing with Detroit, he will earn a $6.2 million signing bonus.

“This feeling is something that you can’t explain,” Greene said. “It’s just amazing.”

Greene led the team with a .422 batting average, eight home runs, 27 RBIs and 38 runs scored in his senior season. Many considered him to be the best pure hitter out of high school in the draft.

In his four years of varsity baseball, he has led the team to two state runner-up finishes, two regional championships, and three district championships. Individually, he has hit 14 home-runs in his four years at Hagerty.

He has also played for Team USA, participated in the high school home-run derby and the high school all-star game, in which he hit a home-run on his first at-bat

The Tigers showed a lot of interest in Greene beginning in eighth grade. Tigers’ scout James Orr has been watching him throughout high school. After all his standout performances against the best competition in the country, the organization became more comfortable with Greene and were confident in their selection.

“We’re looking forward to Riley joining our growing group of young position players that are moving quickly… to the major leagues,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said in a statement.

Ever since he was young, Greene has always had his dad, Alan Greene, coaching him. Greene has been a hitting instructor since 1993 preparing athletes like his son for high school, college and professional baseball.

“I have helped him with his technique, with his fielding and throwing. I fine tune things,” Alan said. “But Riley is Riley because he works really hard. He has always wanted to be successful.”

The last time Detroit selected a high schooler was back in 2014 when they picked outfielder Derek Hill with the 23rd overall pick. His journey to the major leagues was slow due to injuries and lack of production, but Greene is expected to climb through the organization much more quickly.

“There are a lot of things that can be affected when a kid gets called and how long he stays, but I think [Greene] will do well and give himself a chance to make a difference in the organization early on,”  Hagerty head coach Matt Cleveland said.

Greene also was named the Gatorade Florida Player of the Year, and was a finalist for the National Gatorade Player of the Year, yet another reason why Detroit is confident in their pick.

“It is really cool… and it means a lot to me, but at the same time, it’s just a name,” Greene said.

Former professional baseball player and current MLB Network analyst Bill Ripken highlighted all of Greene’s skills and can see Greene as a major success.

“I can see [Riley] playing left field in the major leagues in four or five years from now,” Ripken said.