In a season full of misery, Riley Greene just provided Tigers fans with a rare moment of happiness.
Since being called up to the major leagues, the former first-round pick has shown incredible maturity at the dish. Maybe it’s just because he’s been a part of one of the worst offenses in the history of modern baseball, but he seems to have a better eye at the plate than players who are ten years his senior. He’d been hitting singles and drawing walks. The one thing he hadn’t done yet was hit for power. That changed today as Greene hit his first career triple and his first career home run, which just happened to be a walk-off shot against the Royals.
I’m sure that Greene (and the Tigers) would’ve been alright if this would’ve been a 330-foot homer down the right-field line, but the fact that this ball was nuked makes this moment juuust a little bit more special. You need to have real big boy power to go straight away centerfield at Comerica. That’s normally where balls go to die, but Greene turned on an inside fastball and absolutely crushed it 432 feet.
Greene is the last of the five core prospects that the Tigers predicated their rebuild on. Thus far, it’s been a disaster. Tarik Skubal has shown promise, but Casey Mize and Matt Manning have all missed substantial time with injuries. Spencer Torkelson, the former #1 overall pick, currently ranks dead last in bWAR among qualified rookies. While it’s too early to give up on him, it’s safe to say this young core has not delivered the way we thought they would. Then you have Riley Greene, who will surely take his lumps at some point but seems remarkably confident for a player who is barely old enough to have his first drink.
It’s no secret that this Tigers season (and the rebuild as a whole) has gone completely off the rails. Their GM may very well be the worst in professional sports, and their owner said yesterday that he’s happy with the progress the team has made even though they’re seemingly getting worse. Tigers fans are dying for something good. Riley Greene may be that something. He’s quickly making adjustments and carrying himself with a remarkable amount of quiet confidence. Here’s hoping he provides the fans with more moments like what he gave them today.