INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Not even seven months into his professional career, since the Reds made him the No. 2 overall pick in last June's Draft, Hunter Greene is already making an impact.The 18-year-old, rated as baseball's 18th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline, may still be a ways away from reaching the
INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Not even seven months into his professional career, since the Reds made him the No. 2 overall pick in last June's Draft, Hunter Greene is already making an impact.
The 18-year-old, rated as baseball's 18th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline, may still be a ways away from reaching the big leagues, but he's leaving his mark by giving back to the Southern California community from which he came.
Greene -- who grew up near Santa Clarita, attended Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks and was a fixture for many years at the MLB Youth Academy in Compton -- headlined the first leadership camp, baseball exhibition and community festival on Sunday at Inglewood's Darby Park, where he once played in tournaments when he was younger.
"I feel like I was just here playing with these kids," Greene said. "A lot has happened. You know, seeing them and being able to be here with them and share this day is very special."
He's just 18 years old and has only 10 professional games of rookie ball under his belt, but Greene's presence felt natural alongside Sunday's other headliners like Mets ace Noah Syndergaard, Reds legend Eric Davis and Hall of Famer Dave Winfield.
"I know how much of an outstanding citizen Hunter Greene is, so coming out here was a no-brainer," Syndergaard said.
"It's not something that you see all the time with a kid that's 17, 18 years old, who just was possessed with so much so fast, who thinks about others at that particular age," said Davis, a Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer who won a World Series with the team in 1990. "This is just the first of many things that we're going to be talking about Hunter doing in the community."
Former Major Leaguer Royce Clayton, Angels prospect Dalton Blumenfeld, D-backs prospect Tyler Mark and Inglewood mayor James Butts were also on hand for the event, which featured baseball instruction and demonstrations for children ages 9-14 and a leadership clinic.
"This is the beginning of the year community festival to get everybody energized and involved and supporting baseball," said Winfield, a 12-time All-Star who won a World Series with the Blue Jays in 1992.
The half-day camp centered around five pillars: Integrity, humility, compassion, courage and discipline. All proceeds benefited the Inglewood Baseball Fund, a non-profit that serves local youth through player development, coaching internships, field renovations and college counseling.
"It's special to be here. We have a really good camp that's set up," Greene said. "[Young athletes] need to have the right resources and exposure to move to the next level. They need to have the right coaches out here, have the right mindset, because it's hard, you know. It's a challenge. As long as you have the right circle with you and the right people telling you the right things, I think everything will work out well."
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.