On the rise

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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.

Senior Riley Greene has had enough baseball awards to fill two trophy cases, but he does not want to tell you about them.

Despite recognition from major organizations and scouts, Greene is humble about his talent. He has been playing baseball since he was 3 and has a very realistic goal of making it to the major leagues.

His list of achievements runs long. Baseball America wrote that he was one of the top prep players in the nation—he earned third-team High School All-American Honors from Baseball America as a junior.

“Greene possesses quick hands and an easy swing that generates strong power presently,” Chris Hilburn-Trenkle for Baseball America wrote. “… With more power potential on the way as he adds muscle to his long frame.”

YouTube videos, articles and tweets have been posted showcasing Greene’s talents. MLB Pipeline tweeted in August that Greene is a 2019 MLB prospect and a potential 2019 top five MLB Draft pick. Perfect Game All-American Classic names him as the number two player in the class and possibly the country’s top hitter. Adding on, Diamond Kinetics recognizes him as Offensive Player of the Year. Despite these achievements, his favorite moment does not include any of those.

“My proudest moment as a baseball player was being able to play and have my family watch me this summer,” Greene said.

His parents are busy, always traveling and attending every event this summer with him. His team and coach are also right by his side.

Greene plays center field for the school, but he also plays for Florida Travel Ball. Despite committing freshman year to University of Florida, Greene has continued to do big things, especially this past summer.

Traveling to California, Georgia and Alabama, Greene played for multiple teams. He also tried out for Team USA in North Carolina. Even if he does not like the attention, his teammates are happy for his success.

“[Greene’s] life has changed a lot since he has been getting more recognition,” senior Jordan Engel said. “He has been way more busy, and just in the spotlight in general.”

Engel has been playing with Greene since they were 4. From playing recreational ball together for 10 years to being on the varsity baseball team together in high school, their friendship and bond is strong.

For Greene, junior year was a time that tested his abilities. There was only one senior on the team, requiring others to step up. It was also a time that, compared to now, was not as busy. Greene, because of all the baseball activities, is enrolled in full virtual school this semester. For some, going all virtual school might be scary because there is a lot of work to keep track of, but not Greene.

“Going all virtual was one of the best decisions I have made,” Greene said.

The recognition started coming in once Greene started high school. Committing as a freshman was just the beginning.

“It is not easy to handle so much recognition, but he seems to be doing it well,” Cleveland said. “He is very busy with his travel schedule and meeting and learning about all of the scouts and professional baseball organizations.”

Greene is a humble kid, not paying attention to rankings, and only focusing on the game.

“He just works hard and does not let it distract him. All he wants to do is get better and continue to play,” Engel said.

Greene was inspired by his dad to start playing. His dad loved the game and wanted to keep it going in the family. Consequently, Greene started playing when he was young and now he loves it.

“[Greene] loves the game, has fun and is a great teammate,” Cleveland said. “He is usually the first one here, and the first one to help with anything needed. He has a chance to go very far in this game.”

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