Perfect Game National is the first stop on the summer showcase circuit for the country's best high school players. Spanning six sweltering days in mid-June, the event is held in Fort Myers, Fla., at JetBlue Park, the Spring Training home of the Red Sox. It's an important event for the
Perfect Game National is the first stop on the summer showcase circuit for the country's best high school players. Spanning six sweltering days in mid-June, the event is held in Fort Myers, Fla., at JetBlue Park, the Spring Training home of the Red Sox. It's an important event for the industry because it effectively marks the start of the 2017 Draft season, offering the first extended look at the nation's top prep prospects, including a handful of first-round candidates.
On the first day of the event, shortstop/right-handed pitcher Hunter Greene (Notre Dame High School, in Sherman Oaks, Calif.) put his two-way talent on display and made a case for himself as the best player in the field. Scouts already know Greene well, having seen him play last summer as the youngest member of USA Baseball's 18U National Team, which featured 2016 first-round picks Mickey Moniak, Ian Anderson, Will Benson, Forrest Whitley and Blake Rutherford. He also generated buzz within the scouting community earlier this week when he pitched in front of Major League Scouting Bureau evaluators in California and reached 97 mph with his fastball.
Greene, a UCLA commit, has the long, lean and projectable build that scouts look for at a listed 6-foot-4, 197 pounds. Whether he's pitching or playing the field, he plays the game effortlessly with fast-twitch athleticism and impressive polish in all phases. In game action, he combines strength with controlled aggression, and there's an explosive element to everything he does that sets him apart from his peers.
In his one-inning stint on Wednesday, Greene ran his heater up to 95 mph and settled into the 92-94 range. There's a quick tempo to his simple motion, as he takes a pretty clean arm circle into a three-quarters slot with a gentle plant-foot landing. He creates solid angle on his fastball, which features riding life that induced an awkward swing from a right-handed hitter for the second of his two strikeouts. He also showed the makings of an above-average slider that reaches the low-80s with sharp bite and tilt at its best, taking a flatter trajectory when it's not. The size, stuff and pitchability give him a starter's profile at the next level, and his physical projection portends improvement as he adds strength and arm speed.
At the plate, Greene combines a natural, fluid swing with an advanced feel to hit. He showed very good bat speed and extension in batting practice, producing loud echoes off the barrel as he drove a handful of balls over the fence. With athletic movements in the box and exceptional bat control, he has a line-drive swing plane geared for both contact and power. He's a smooth defender at shortstop with solid hands and loose, coordinated actions, moving laterally with easy strides. He has a real chance to stay at the position, but should his physical maturation sap too much of his range, he has the defensive tools to become a well above-average defender at third base.
Greene -- who will still be 17 years old by the time next year's draft rolls around -- is one of the better two-way prospects in recent memory. There's a legitimate debate in the scouting community as to where he should play, and settling that debate will be difficult if he performs as he's expected to on both sides of the ball next spring. Regardless, he has the look of a potential top 10 pick at this very early juncture, offering all-star upside at whatever position his selecting team decides to develop him.
Jesse Burkhart is a contributer for MLB.com.