LAKELAND, Fla.- Grayson Greiner is passionate about baseball and life.
The 22-year-old Detroit Tigers prospect enjoys nothing more than talking about baseball, and reliving the great moments he’s already experienced in his young career.
The South Carolina native was drafted in the third round by the Tigers in 2014 and has quickly lived up to his potential, bypassing the Gulf Coast League, and short season Class A in Connecticut to play for the West Michigan Whitecaps in his first year.
In that debut season Greiner had a .322 average, with 29 hits, 16 RBI’s in 26 games.
Greiner relishes his position of catcher even though his six-foot-five stature is uncommonly found in players at that position. He began his career at shortstop but jumped at the opportunity to switch to catcher in junior varsity and has never looked back.
“When you’re a catcher, you’re in the middle of everything, calling pitches, calling plays, you know the ball is always going to come to you,” said Greiner. “I like that part about it because I consider myself a smart player, a smart person and I enjoy the thinking about it.”
His enthusiasm has translated into his game, giving Greiner the opportunity to catch for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team for a 43-game tour in 2013. His involvement with the international team allowed him to play with some of the best young players in the game.
“It was a once in a lifetime experience, and hopefully one day I’ll get to play for Team USA again,” said Greiner during spring training at the Tiger Town Complex.
The young prospect was a part of history in his international debut, where they swept Cuba for the first time in a five-game series. Greiner remembers every second of it and recalled the excitement surrounding the tournament.
“It was cool, our last game in Durham, to sweep Cuba, afterwards they did a big fireworks show, national anthem, it was really cool,” said Greiner.
“That was one of the most memorable moments I’ve had on a baseball field.”
Greiner doesn’t take anything for granted though and stays close with his family, which keeps him humble. His parents also come to visit him wherever he plays so they can closely support him.
“I talk to my dad the most, I talk to him about everyday about everything baseball and life,” said Greiner. “They came and visited me last week in Clearwater and they got to see me in a big-league uniform which was really cool for them.”
As for his future, Greiner, who is only one semester away from graduating with an accounting degree at the University of South Carolina, just wants to enjoy the opportunities that baseball is giving him.
“I don’t really have much of a plan,” said Greiner. “Just trying to ride this out as long as the game will let me play.”
Follow @_JessPatton on Twitter