Are you looking for a sleeper middle infielder who has the potential to add some speed and some power? Were you hoping to get Zack Cozart, but missed out? Well, you don’t even have to look outside the NL Central for another potential option. While he is not guaranteed an everyday job in St. Louis, Tyler Greene brings a very similar skill set and is flying completely under the radar.
In fact, you can argue that Greene brings a little bit more intrigue, having played 25 games at 2B and 20 games at SS for the Cardinals in 2011. That means dual eligibility, making him an even more ideal reserve.
In that time at the Majors, he gave us just a little hint of what could be possible:
104 At Bats
.212 Batting Average (22 Hits)
1 Home Runs
11 Stolen Bases
.322 On Base Percentage
.288 Slugging Percentage
.292 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Obviously there was a problem in the average department, and it was simply that he couldn’t make contact. In 2011 he posted a 25.6% strikeout rate, something that has been a common trend throughout his career.
In the minor leagues he has posted a 25.2% strikeout rate, including a 23.7% mark in 1,043 AB at Triple-A. He has done better this spring, albeit in a small sample size, with 10 K over 41 AB. If he can continue to improve in that regard, the potential will increase significantly.
He has already proven that he can control the strike zone, with an 8.6% walk rate over his minor league career. However, he has been better at Triple-A (9.8%) and in at the Majors in ’11 (10.7%). It’s obvious he can find a way to get on base, and when he gets there he can steal bases.
Last season, across three levels he stole 35 bases and was caught just 3 times. Back in 2009 he went 34-for-37. Not only can he run, but he’s efficient on the base paths. If he gets regular playing time, it’s not impossible to think that he’ll steal 25+ bases this season.
The other question is if he can show power at the Major League level. He’s flashed the long ball at every level, including 14 HR in 254 AB at Triple-A in ’11. Granted, it was in the Pacific Coast League, so you don’t want to give him too much credit for the number, though he also had 19 doubles and 2 triples.
What gives us a little bit more ammo in regards to the power is his time at Double-A, despite coming way back in 2007 and 2008. In 595 AB he hit 24 HR, so it’s clear that his power is not simply a produce of the PCL.
Now 28-years old, you obviously can’t expect any major shifts in his production. What he has proven is that he has the potential to hit 10-15 HR with 25+ SB with regular playing time. As long as he can supplement that with a .260-.270 average, would anyone complain with that type of production?
He’s battling Danny Descalso for playing time in 2012 and, long-term, Kolten Wong could be the answer at 2B. However, it’s obvious that he has the potential to be a solid sleeper, and one nobody seems to be paying attention. The Cardinals appear to want his offensive potential in the lineup, so in deeper and NL-only formats he is a player that should absolutely be stashed in all formats.
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Make sure to check out all of our 2012 rankings: