There has been no shortage of words written, and praise lauded, on Blue Jays’ right-hander Conner Greene over the last couple of years.
Early scouting reports from his draft year weren’t exactly stellar, though, with respect to his velocity, clocking his stuff in the high 80s and low 90s.
Despite this, even the likes of Alex Anthopolous would sprinkle his name in conversations early on, highlighting the fact that the organization placed immense value on him and viewed him as a highlight of the farm system; this continued after Anthopolous’ “emptying of the cupboards”, approaching the 2015 trade deadline.
Name: Conner Greene
Position: RHP Age: 21
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 185 lbs
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Acquired: 2013 MLB Draft (7th Round)
It was obvious at the time, at least to this observer, that Greene was still held in very high regard, and by no less than the GM.
Greene did, and in some ways, still does, have the makings of a high quality major league arm, topping out at around 96 MPH. It is definitely still within the realm of possibility for him to be a solid third or fourth starter in a rotation, or a late-inning fireballer out of the ‘pen.
His 2016 regression is what has likely positioned him further down prospect lists. We have seen a definite up-tick in walks, most recently in the Arizona fall league where he walked 11 and struck out five over 10.0 innings.
The most obvious answer here is that Greene needs to harness his velocity and focus on maybe one or two off-speed pitches to mix it up a little.
It is interesting to note that the Blue Jays current bullpen needs could end up being a boon for Greene. A possible path to success could be as simple as mimicking what we recently witnessed with Aaron Sanchez: tightening up the heater and simplifying the rest of their repertoire out of the pen.
Greene is still young, entering his age-22 season, so there’s definitely no reason to hit the panic button yet. He’s been part of the group already working out in Dunedin, and following the Sanchez method, Greene has added over 10 pounds to his frame this off-season.
It is ironic enough that Greene’s most recent mound woes are not dissimilar to Rick Vaughn’s, the character played by Greene’s friend Charlie Sheen in “Major League”, a guy who can throw heat, but can’t hit the glove consistently.
Once his new-found velocity is coupled with command and control he will be a solid piece for the organization.
Let’s see how he fairs in New Hampshire and/or Buffalo and reassess this electric arm in August, shall we?
Top-30 Blue Jays prospect rankings:
#30: RHP Jordan Romano #29: RHP Yennsy Diaz #28: CF Reggie Pruitt
#27: 1B Ryan McBroom #26: CF Roemon Fields #25: 2B Cavan Biggio
#24: RHP Jose Espada #23: RHP Patrick Murphy #22: C Danny Jansen
#21: OF Dwight Smith Jr. #20: RHP Zach Jackson #19: RHP Francisco Rios
#18: OF Harold Ramirez #17: C Max Pentecost #16: Ryan Borucki
#15: OF Joshua Palacios #14: OF J.B. Woodman #13: C Reese McGuire