I can see it now, three years and change from now.
At dusk, at some beautiful ballpark in America, the hometown crowd buzzes in anticipation for what is about to unfold before their very eyes.
A subtle whip of wind blows across the ballpark, as a 6’4,” 255 lb. beast of a man makes his way from the on-deck circle to home plate.
With runners on second and third, this ballplayer digs his cleats into the batter’s box for his first big league at-bat, ready to crush whatever is thrown his direction.
Unable to control his excitement, the Public Address announcer exalts:
“Now batting for your (fill in team here) number twenty five, MEAN Dean Green!”
Sounds like some cheesy excerpt from a Hardy Boys mystery story, I know.
But putting baseball fantasies aside, the Detroit Tigers really do have their very own Dean Green.
He is a left-handed, power-hitting first base prospect for the West Michigan Whitecaps of the Class-A Midwest League. This 23-year-old Tulsa Oklahoma native should be testifying against the Tigers in court because frankly, Detroit stole this guy in the 11th round out of Barry University in Miami.
Since Green’s debut with the Connecticut Tigers of the New York Penn League, he has not disappointed.
Last season Green hit .341 (84 hits in 65 games) with 19 doubles, two triples and an OPS of .915 for the Tigers in rookie ball action.
Green’s performance garnered Topps Short-Season/Rookie All-Star honors, as well as Baseball America Short-Season All-Star honors. Green was also selected to the NYP Mid-Season All-Star game.
This season, Green has continued to excel at Class-A. While his .288 average is not as scorching as it was last season, he nonetheless has 47 hits in 43 games for the Whitecaps. Green also has eight home runs, 11 doubles, and 25 RBI. His OPS is .861.
In the last 10 games, Green has been on fire. During this stretch, Green is batting .400 (16 hits in 40 at-bats) with five multi-hit games. He also has two homers and nine doubles to go with a .700 slugging percent. Green’s OPS is an eye-popping 1.109.
Not bad for a guy selected out of a university not exactly known for being a baseball pipeline.
While “Mean Dean Green’s” future with Detroit is anyone’s guess, he provides yet more proof the Tigers are very good at plucking fine ballplayers from humble grounds.
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