CLEARWATER, FL. – Larry Greene blasts his favourite country tunes as he prepares for another day on the baseball field.
Very few would think that this wide-framed, 20-year-old power-hitter puts on his Luke Bryan playlist to give him the energy to smash balls out of the park.
Greene, a native from Nashville, Ga., finds that listening to country music on his iPod prior to stepping onto the field is the perfect pre-game ritual for himself.
“There are a lot of country songs [on my playlist], actually,” said Greene, as he stared up into sunny skies at Carpenter Complex. “It’s weird. Most people are like, ‘what are you doing with this much country, Larry?’”
The 6-0, 235-pound outfielder is known as a physical beast with his frame much larger than the typical baseball player. He also possesses a type of raw power that is extremely difficult to find.
Many may view Greene’s size as a disadvantage because of a perceived lack of speed and agility, but Greene believes otherwise.
“I think it plays to my advantage. People look at me differently. I like being bigger,” said the 39th overall first-round pick in 2011 draft.
Greene dominated while playing baseball at Berrien County High School in Georgia. In his senior year, he averaged .536 in 30 games which included 11 doubles, 19 home runs, 52 RBI and 37 walks.
The high school All American also excelled in basketball and football. He was close to committing to the University of Alabama on a football scholarship, but he and his parents felt that baseball was what he was best at.
“It was just my mom and my dad telling me that you only get one chance to do something like this so I chose baseball,” said Greene.
“It [baseball] is just fun and my career will probably be longer. Instead of getting hit every day you get to hit every day.”
Transition to minor leagues
In 2012, Greene hit .272 with a .381 slugging percentage in 70 games at low Class A.
He was challenged early, admitting the transition from high school to the professional level was quite a rocky one.
“At first, it was really hard because the pitching is different and the atmosphere is different,” said the sixth-ranked Phillies’ prospect on MLB.com.
Being so young, Greene will continue to develop his raw tools and will eventually come into his own.
He hopes the hard work put in during the off-season to further improve all aspects of his game will show in his performance throughout this year.
“I did a lot of outfield drills but more stuff like running and agility. I hit a little bit but not that much. I just did more agility work,” said the left-handed slugger. “I did a lot in the weight room actually.”
Greene credits his father for getting him to where he is today, putting his own dreams of becoming a professional ball player to rest so he can work to support his son.
The southern boy became a young father himself with the birth of his first child only two weeks ago.
The proud parent is ecstatic about the start to a new chapter in his life, and finds strength every day through his newborn son back home in Georgia.
“He’s not out here right now,” says Greene. “But just thinking about him just makes me go harder every day.”