TEMPE, Ariz. -- When looking for a role model, both on and off the field, there are few better choices than Derek Jeter.The former Yankees captain retired after the 2014 season, but his legacy continues to impact young ballplayers, including Hunter Greene, who tries to model himself the same way
TEMPE, Ariz. -- When looking for a role model, both on and off the field, there are few better choices than Derek Jeter.
The former Yankees captain retired after the 2014 season, but his legacy continues to impact young ballplayers, including Hunter Greene, who tries to model himself the same way Jeter did.
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Greene, a senior out of Notre Dame High School (Calif.) and MLBPipeline's No. 1 Draft Prospect, read "The Captain: The journey of Derek Jeter", when he was 11 years old, and has since done his best to incorporate that book into his daily life.
"The one thing I really took out of it was how Derek Jeter said his goal was to help others around him excel, not just as a player, but as a person, and I've taken that everywhere I go," Greene said.
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Greene, 17, is taking part in the inaugural Dream Series at Tempe Diablo Stadium, Spring Training home of the Angels. The Dream Series is an event designed to provide exposure and high-level development opportunities for high school pitchers and catchers and runs from Jan. 12-16. It is free for participants and was organized by Major League Baseball, USA Baseball, USA Softball, the MLB Players Association and other partners.
As a potential top Draft pick, Greene -- who has attended the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., since he was 7 years old and is projected to be the highest UYA selection in history -- is used to playing with all eyes staring at him. The focus was once again on Greene as he took the mound for his bullpen session at the Dream Series, but the young right-hander isn't fazed by the scrutiny.
Instead, Greene embraces the attention and uses his platform to help others grow their games.
"I try not to put myself on a pedestal," Greene said. "I'm here to connect with the players and just have a great time and show them the amount of hard work and dedication and passion that it takes to be successful in this game -- spreading that and just having that effect on people and the impact on people to bring their best self every time I step on a field."
And those around him appreciate the help.
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"He's definitely one of the top players in the country," Cordell Dunn Jr., a senior out of Center Hill High School (Miss.) said. "He's a candidate for the first pick in the Draft. Being around a guy like that is always exciting, getting to pick his brain and stuff."
Dunn, who knows Greene from their time together with USA Baseball, also caught Greene's bullpen session and said the pitcher lived up to the hype.
"Fastball was very explosive, good change-up," Dunn Jr. said.
Dunn Jr. wasn't the only one impressed with Greene's bullpen session, as he was clearly the focal point of the event. When Greene toed the rubber, the whole atmosphere changed as everyone turned their attention toward mound No. 2, wanting to get a glimpse of the session.
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"It's been amazing," Greene said of all the attention that comes with the Draft process. "My family and I have really enjoyed the process. I've enjoyed it the most because even though all these people see that I'm at this level and that I'm fortunate enough to be at No. 1 right now, whatever happens happens, but I've just tried to help others around me. For them to see Hunter Greene is this person on the field, but who is he off the field? How is he going to treat me? That's what I try to focus on."
Whether he's on the field or off, Greene has a way of impressing -- just like Jeter.
William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.