With April soon coming to a close, MLB's first-year player draft is getting closer and closer. The draft, scheduled to begin June 12, already boasts one name worth knowing -- Hunter Greene.
Here are four things you need to know about Greene entering draft season's home stretch.
A two-way talent
It's common for the best draft prospects, particularly at the prep level, to hit and pitch. Yet Greene, a 17-year-old attendee of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California, is a rare breed. He has touched 100 mph as a pitcher, yet has the athleticism to profile as a high-quality shortstop, too. ESPN's Keith Law opined early in April that Greene would be a top-10 pick as a hitter due to his plus glove and raw power. Greene isn't a pitcher masquerading as a shortstop, nor is he a shortstop moonlighting as a pitcher. He's a legitimate prospect on the mound and in the batter's box. That alone makes him special.
Likely a pitcher
Of course, one question about Greene (and any player talented enough to pitch and hit at a high level) is what position he'll settle into for the long haul. Most pundits seem to think Greene will begin his professional career as a pitcher, given his high-grade fastball and front-of-the-rotation potential. Should that fail, he could always give hitting a try. There's also the fun daydream of Greene doing both, but that's hard to envision as a legitimate possibility.
Sitting for San Diego?
Alas, while Greene is probably a pitcher heading forward, there's speculation he's not going to pitch for the rest of his season. According to John Manuel of Baseball America, that could be because Greene wants to slide to the San Diego Padres, who own the No. 3 pick. Per Manuel, who called Greene's desire to drop to San Diego a "poorly kept secret," Greene would like to remain on the West Coast and likes that his throwing program is similar to the Padres'. It's unclear how effective Greene's play will be, however, and Manuel says the Cincinnati Reds (who pick second) are willing to call his bluff.
Greene is an interesting individual
In addition to being a generational talent, Greene is also a fascinating individual. Here's a snippet of Lee Jenkins' excellent profile from the latest Sports Illustrated:
Greene does yoga with a private instructor three times a week. He dabbles in Korean. He wonders if he could ever play "The Star-Spangled Banner" on his violin before taking the field. He listens to hip-hop, mainly Travis Scott, but he's also kind of country: He owns a dozen Bass Pro Shop hats and casts into Castaic Lake. He spends free periods painting with Joseph Lee, his AP studio art teacher; bright colors and bold images are Greene's trademarks. "I'm trying to get more opaque," he says, revealing a recent canvas.
Basically, Greene has the makings to become everyone's favorite ballplayer in about, oh, three to four years' time.