Scouting Cardinals' AA Shortstop Tyler Greene

The former first-rounder is enjoying a fantastic month and is finally looking like the five-tool talent the St. Louis Cardinals drafted with the 30th overall pick in 2005. Dustin Mattison files a scouting report on the 24-year-old plus provides video evidence, a Birdhouse exclusive.

Tyler Greene is something of an enigma in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system.  Possessing some of the best overall tools in the organization, the 24-year-old has had trouble with seeing those tools translate into success on the field over the last three seasons.  Yet within the past month, the former 2005 first round pick seems to be finding the medium between performance and tools. 

 

In this Birdhouse exclusive, we look at Greene's background plus offer a scouting report on one of the most talked-about, if not most controversial prospect in the Cardinals' organization. 

 

Background

 

In his final season at Georgia Tech, Greene was an All-ACC selection as well as a first team All-American.  During the ACC Tournament, the shortstop was named the tourney's Most Valuable Player. 

 

During the summer of 2003, Greene had been the starting third baseman for Team USA that brought home the silver medal from the Pan AM games.  During that summer while using wood bats, the Florida native led the team with a .431 average, four home runs, and 21 RBIs.  The .431 mark is the fourth highest average in Team USA history. 

 

Greene has had an auspicious professional career to date.  In his first action, Greene was assigned to the then-New Jersey Cardinals of the New York-Penn League, where he hit only .261 but reached base at a .352 clip in 138 at bats before skipping a level and going to Palm Beach.  In the Florida State League, Greene more than held his own with a .271/.326/.388 line in a well-known pitcher's league. 

 

The former Yellow Jacket started 2006 back at Palm Beach where he hit an anemic .224/.307/.325 while striking out almost 30% of the time before being demoted to the Quad Cities.  The experienced Greene found the Midwest League to his liking, hitting .287/.373/.552 but he still struck out in over one-fourth of his at bats.

 

Instead of repeating the Florida State League in 2007, Greene joined other 2005 draftees Colby Rasmus, Bryan Anderson, and Jaime Garcia in Springfield.  The early going was rough on the then-23-year-old as he hit only .219 in April and .250 in May.  He really began to pick things up come June when he slugged .585 in 53 at bats.  Unfortunately, that would be all for the former All-American due to a dislocated kneecap that brought his season to an end. 

 

It was back to the Texas League in 2008 where again Greene really struggled in the early going.  In April, he posted a line of .178/.243/.311 followed by a still-underwhelming line of .238/.270/.429 in May.  As you notice, the power was beginning to show, but still these are not All-Star like numbers.  Nevertheless, Greene was named a Texas League All-Star starter at his home park of Hammons Field.  

 

Something must have sunk in during that break because he has played like a more than deserving All-Star since that time.  In the 24 games since the Texas League All-Star Game, Greene is hitting .311/.339/.544 with six home runs and 14 RBIs.  The 24-year-old is still putting up abominable strikeout totals, 21, compared to only two walks during this time.  

 

The Tools

 

Speed

 

Above average speed, 60-65 on the 80 scouting scale.  Greene uses his speed on the bases with 75 steals in 85 attempts in 341 minor league games.  He also uses that speed to take extra bases when the ball is in play.

 

Fielding

 

That speed along with excellent quickness enables him to have above-average range in the field.  Couple that with nice soft hands and Greene is an above-average fielder.  He does seem to lose focus at times, which causes him to commit errors on routine plays.  His arm is above-average as well and probably grades out as one of the top in the system. 

 

Hitting

 

Good power, especially for a middle infield prospect.  If Greene stays at short, his power adds to his value tremendously.  His 16 home runs is best among middle infielders in all of Double-A, not just the Texas League. 

 

It is hit tool that is the cause for the most concern.  Greene struggles to make consistent contact and has difficulty with off-speed pitches.  At times, Greene makes himself an easy out when he becomes way too pull-conscious. 

 

Greene is blessed with above average bat speed and strong hands. He makes a little bit of noise at the top of his swing but loads his hands well and shows good balance in the beginning of his swing. 

 

His stroke gets long at times which causes him to be vulnerable to a good fastball.  When Greene shortens his stroke, he gets good loft with a natural uppercut to his swing. 

 

Greene is inconsistent with his lower body.  At times, he leads with his hands leaving his hips behind.  He is able to make up for it with excellent bat speed and natural ability but can be exploited with off-speed pitches, hence his strikeout totals.

 

I would like to see him make a more conscious effort to keep his hands back and drive the ball more to the opposite field.  Yes, he would most likely lose some of his home run total but should more than make up for it in the batting average department.  With his bat and foot speed, Greene could become a doubles machine. 

 

Make Up

 

Greene is known as a good teammate and a natural leader.  Coaches call him one of the hardest workers on any team he has ever played on and is often spotted getting in extra cuts in the batting cage. 

 

Outlook

 

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings concerning Greene.  His tools are fantastic; it is that his inconsistencies have filled me with reservations.  This last month, however, have caused me to become more excited about his future (yes, I know it is only a month). 

 

In the very near future, I would like to see him to continue to make strides at Double-A.  Next, with Brian Barden leaving for the Olympics, a promotion to take over as the starting shortstop at Memphis would be a true proving ground for Greene.  Triple-A is a breaking ball league and that seems to be his most glaring weakness. 

 

If, and that is a big if, he is able to find some consistency in hitting the breaking ball and reaches base at a respectable rate while still providing above average power for a middle infielder, he once again will rate among the top prospects in the system and would have to be considered for a big league look sometime during 2009. 

 

Video

 

Exclusive video of Greene in the cage and taking infield.

 

(1:33)

 

 

Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at dustin@whiteyball.com.

 

© 2008 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.


The Cardinal Nation Top Stories