Grayson Greiner scouting report
When the Detroit Tigers drafted Grayson Greiner out of the University of South Carolina, they knew they were getting a very strong defensive catcher with good instincts behind the plate and a good arm. What they didn’t figure to get (and what finally started showing up by the end of 2016) was a good power stroke that could make Greiner a very valuable big league catcher one day soon.
Now 24 years old and entering his third full professional season, Greiner is coming off a fall stint in the Arizona Fall League playing for the Salt River Rafters, and figures to make an impact on the Tigers’ big league roster by the beginning of next year, if not some time sooner depending on roster moves around him in the high minors.
Grayson Greiner scouting report — physical tools and projection
Greiner isn’t small, at 6’6″, and that frame alone stands out for his position, likely making some wonder whether he’d be a better long-term fit at first base or even in a corner outfield spot. But Greiner has enough athleticism and flexibility behind the plate, coupled with a great sense of how to deal with pitchers, that there’s no reason he couldn’t stick as a backstop despite his somewhat unusual size.
After struggling at the plate in his first full season of pro ball, Greiner brought a much more compact, quick stroke to the plate in 2016, and it worked wonders in producing a solid start at High-A Lakeland and then a good show after a mid-season promotion to Double-A Erie (where he hit seven home runs in just 59 games played for the SeaWolves). Taking the bat out west to the Arizona Fall League, Greiner showed off his power in pre-game batting practice rounds going toe-to-toe with Arizona Diamondbacks power-hitting prospect Kevin Cron, and the end result is an interesting catcher coming quickly for the Tigers.
Grayson Greiner scouting report — what’s ahead in 2017
As good as all that may sound for Greiner, consistency is key; the catcher must prove he can swing the bat well enough over a full season in the high minors for the Tigers to have any hope of looking to him as a future big leaguer. He’ll be 25 years old after this season, and 2017 ought to be a make-or-break year of sorts for him as he’ll likely split between Double-A and Triple-A, and hope to break through to the Tigers by the start of 2018, if not sooner.
Long-term, Greiner likely has the tools, wherewithal, and character traits to be a solid backup catcher in the big leagues if he can catch on and stick, especially with his power bat. There’s some faint physical and game-trait similarity here to longtime big leaguer Chris Iannetta, and while that comparison may end up slightly over-shooting what Greiner ends up doing, the South Carolina product will undoubtedly make his presence felt over the next several summers with the Tigers.
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