|Scouting Report: Shane Greene|
Greene has plus stuff but needs better control
The Yankees drafted right-handed pitcher Shane Greene in the 15th round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of Daytona State College. He continues to fly under the radar because the rather pedestrian numbers he has posted in his career thus far don't exactly match the top-shelf stuff, but he still offers significant long-term potential.
Name: Shane Greene
DOB: November 17, 1988
He followed up his 5-14, 4.37 ERA season for the Charleston RiverDogs in 2011 with another less than stellar statistical output in 2012, going just 4-7 with a 5.22 ERA for the Tampa Yankees. Hidden behind the numbers, however, was some real progress made, including having 14 starts where he allowed two earned runs or less.
"Overall I'd say it was a little bit of a roller coaster ride but I learned a lot as far as facing adversity and things like that," Greene said of his season. "I felt like I either had a really, really good outing or a really, really bad one.
"There was no real in between for me. I still have a long ways to go but I'm working hard and hopefully the hard work pays off."
Long lauded for his plus stuff, Greene's biggest weakness throughout the years remained so once again in 2012 -- pitching far too often behind in counts.
"In most of, if not every one of, my good outings my walks were limited," he admitted. "I had a couple where I got myself into some jams but got myself out of it and still ended up with a pretty good outing, but for the most part I would walk two guys and then go 3-0 and groove one, give up a double off of the wall, and you just can't pitch like that."
The frustrating part with Greene is he knows what he's doing wrong and it isn't mechanical and it's not all that big of a mental problem either.
"I think it's more about trying to be too perfect," he added. "I just have to know a good hitter is going to fail seven out of ten times so if I throw balls over the plate they're going to get themselves out and then there will be times where I need to pick.
"I think I try to be too perfect all of the time instead of going right after them and challenging them."
When he did challenge batters though, he was downright unhittable. In fact, in ten of his fourteen starts where he allowed two earned runs or less he gave up less hits than innings pitched, including one outing where he ended up perfect for six innings.
"Actually my dad is the one who pointed it out to me -- he made it down to a lot of games this year because I'm from Florida -- he said the games where I was going bad it seemed like I was going really, really, really fast," he said. "My tempo was really fast.
"For example in the game I went six perfect [innings] he was there and he said it looked like I was in slow motion. I was no hurry to get on the mound. I was just calm and relaxed, and ever since he pointed that out to me that's the way I've tried to stay.
"A lot of guys talk about having rhythm and up-tempo, and I think when I start doing that I get frustrated faster, and when I get frustrated it's just a snowball effect.
"When I stay cool, calm, and collected, and just take my time, I feel like that's when I have the most success. That's really what I was trying to work on, especially at Instructs."
Both a starter and a reliever in his amateur days, Greene admits that he's better at flipping a switch and getting on to the mound quickly rather than pondering about his start hours before each game. However, he also recognizes that his stuff plays better in the starting role so he's been working to find a pre-game routine that works for him.
"I'm still working on that trying to find a routine but if I can find that routine with the kind of stuff that I have without sounding arrogant, I think I would be more successful as a starter than a reliever because I have to throw strikes to get ground balls and I'm not necessarily a strikeout pitcher so as a starter I think I'd be more successful," he opined.
Seeing a velocity bump yet again in 2012 and an uptick in his changeup too, stuff-wise there's not much else Greene can do to tap his vast potential. For him it's all about approach and not giving batters too much credit.
"I'd say just attack more. It sounds way easier than it is but I've been working on it for a couple of years now and I feel like this is the biggest [upcoming] season of my career, and I'm just going to have to learn how to throw strikes and let my defense do the work," he concluded.
Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.
Fastball. Greene went from averaging 89-90 mph with his great moving sinking fastball to sitting more in the 92-93 mph range in 2012. It gets wicked movement on it too and he compliments it with a power four-seamer that sits 92-95 mph and tops out at 97 mph pretty routinely. In fact, one of Greene's biggest strengths is being able to maintain that plus velocity deep into his starts.
Other Pitches. Greene's best pitch for years was his plus slider, one that breaks very hard and extremely late, and it serves as his primary strikeout pitch. However, over the years his changeup has developed into a plus pitch too and now it is a pitch that he will actually favor over his go-to slider more often than not. It gets great sink and fade just like his fastball, and it's not only a contact out-pitch but a strikeout pitch too.
Pitching: First and foremost, Greene is very athletic and exceptionally strong on the mound. He throws plus fastballs right out of the gate and the power never fades as he gets deep into games. All of his pitches get such great movement too. While that is a major positive since batters have a hard time barreling the baseball, which also allows Greene to keep the ball in the yard better than most, his wicked moving pitches can be hard to control. While that is a reason for sometimes pitching behind in counts, the biggest reason for the high number of walks and consistently pitching behind in counts is his less than aggressive approach in the strike zone. A major point to keep in mind is that his stats are likely to get better as the defenses behind him continue to get better as he moves up levels.
Projection. More so than most, Greene gives the Yankees a lot of long-term flexibility role-wise. He has back-end bullpen type stuff with three plus pitches and he can also be the ideal starting pitcher too because of the three pitches he has and his ability to go deep into games. Just as is the case with any pitcher, however, he'll only be as good as his control. He'll need to throw more strikes in whichever role he could assume, but he makes more sense as a middle to back-end big league starting pitcher who has the ability pitch higher than that on any given day. A little A.J. Burnett-like, there will be days where he's unstoppable and other days where he can't get out of his own way.
ETA. 2014. Greene will be entering a make or break year in 2013, a year in which he should see ample time in Double-A Trenton. If he can get to the point where he throws more strikes and limit the walks, he'll be too enticing to allow him to be exposed in the Rule 5 Draft next year. If it's another so-so year statistically for him, however, he could see his days in Pinstripes very limited.