The Riley Greene effect on the Detroit Tigers is legit
When it comes to baseball, there is always a certain mystique wrapped around players. Whether it’s the stories of Babe Ruth calling his shot in game one of the 1932 World Series, to how the game can provoke fictional stories of a man making a baseball field in a cornfield in Iowa, baseball has a strange effect on the consciousness of fans. That mystique has fallen on Detroit Tigers fans since the debut of Riley Greene on Saturday.
Think about the word “mystique” for a moment. Detroit scored five or more runs for the first time all season in back-to-back games and split the series against Texas. Since Riley Greene has arrived, Detroit has a top five offense in baseball. No, that is not a typo, that is a fact under small sample sizes.
When manager A.J. Hinch said he has never seen a young player’s injury so impactful to start the season, it was not an empty statement. There is some serious weight to it.
Reset the brain
The Fenway Park outfield is a uniquely tough place to play. Pesky’s Pole in right field can turn weak flies to right field into home runs. The Green Monster turns routine pop outs into extra-base hits. And the “Triangle,” that portion of center field that goes from 389 feet to 420 feet in deep right center, can cause fits for outfielders who aren’t prepared for it.
But last night, Riley Greene was able to handle the outfield just fine.
The timing and athleticism Greene shows to make this play on the run stands out. Did he make an error on a routine fly ball on Monday? Absolutely.
But in baseball, it’s all about having a short memory and moving on. Greene went 2-for-4 yesterday, and on the season he is 5-for-17 with 5 walks to three strikeouts. He already has more walks than Harold Castro (3) and is tied with Willi Castro after just four games. His fWAR of 0.2 ties him for second on the team. While all these numbers are just small sample sizes, they are important because Detroit needed something to stir the offense.
Greene’s arrival could not have been better timed for both the fans and the team itself.
Embattled general manager Al Avila is being mocked online by T-shirts worn by former players, and Ken Rosenthal penned a pretty thorough indictment of the Avila era in today’s edition of the Athletic($).
The Riley Greene effect on the current 40-man roster is just the beginning. He seems like the real deal, and Detroit will need to continue to build around him and Spencer Torkelson. That is a pretty obvious statement, but now Detroit has to do a better job of identifying the types of players who can complement Greene’s skill set.
Riley Greene is not here to save Al Avila, but he looks like the foundation of the next Tigers’ contender.