Former first-rounder at a pivotal juncture

Every organization has their share of first round picks that didn't pan out. Phillies fans believe that their team has cornered the market on those types of picks, but then again, that's just how we view the world. For one recent first round pick though, it's time to start showing some progress.

In the 2011 Draft, if a team was looking for a hitter with raw power, Larry Greene Jr. was a name they had to consider. The Phillies were just one of the teams enamored with Greene's power potential and took him with the 39th overall pick in the draft.

Simply put, Greene is somewhat of a monster. He had a scholarship to play linebacker at Alabama waiting for him, but decided to play baseball instead. The choice wasn't necessarily and easy one though and as Greene was mulling his options, time slipped away and he signed too late to play in a short-season league in 2011. The Phillies brought him to the Florida Instructional League that fall and put him through the paces in an effort to get him ready for the next season.

Last season, Greene played at Williamsport and hit .272 in 70 games, but showed limited power, hitting just two home runs. There hasn't been much concern over his lack of game power, because it's not unusual for young players - especially high school players - to take some time to adjust to professional ball and everything that goes with it.

The concerns facing Greene are on a different scope. Each of the last two springs, Greene has reported to camp overweight and out of shape. This spring, especially, it cost him since the Phillies had some thoughts of sending him to Lakewood to open the season. Instead, he stayed back in extended camp before making his full-season debut with the BlueClaws in mid-April. It also cost him with the Phillies, who were miffed, to say the least, that Greene would again come in overweight.

This season at Lakewood, Greene is struggling badly. His average has been at or above .200 for just 13 days this season and it currently stands at .183 and he has yet to homer this season.

The Phillies are working with Greene to shorten his rather deluxe swing, so needing time to adjust to the new mechanics can certainly be the cause for some offensive struggles.

It's not out of the question that the Phillies could drop Greene back to Williamsport temporarily once the New York-Penn League season opens in a couple of weeks. A trip backward could give Greene some confidence as he continues to develop himself offensively.

Wherever he's playing, the key now is to just keep Greene working toward translating his batting practice power to game situations. It's going to be important too, for Greene to keep working at the game during the offseason and not lose any more time in his development.



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