Player: Grayson Greiner
Drafted by: Detroit Tigers
DOB: 10/11/1992 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6'5", 210 pounds
School: South Carolina
Previously Drafted: Never
It's rare to find a high school catcher with raw tools who goes undrafted, but that's the position Grayson Greiner was in three years ago. He has taken full advantage of the SEC stage to turn himself into one of the best college catchers available in the 2014 draft class.
He wasted no time making a name for himself at South Carolina, starting 53 games for the Gamecocks during their run to the College World Series against Arizona. His offense started slow, as he hit .222 as a freshman with six home runs, but he has upped things in a big way this season (.333/.405/.523) with a career-high eight homers.
He's a flawed prospect, which is why he's not a surefire first-round talent, but there's a lot to be intrigued by, which can make him an MLB player soon.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Greiner has an underrated hit tool; there's some length to the swing thanks to long limbs, but he does a good job of keeping his weight back in the load and uncorking the swing with authority thanks to good hand strength and above-average bat speed; good hip rotation to add more thump to his swing; strong lower half and good weight transfer allow him to drive the ball.
Greiner has shown glimpses of being an above-average power hitter, but the consistency isn't there; has the frame to generate easy pop and a good swing for it; some uppercut in his swing leads to strikeouts, and long arms prevent him from consistently barreling the ball.
Plate Discipline: 45/50
Despite some contact issues, which are primarily the product of his swing, he displays good patience at the plate; not an aggressive hacker who tries to destroy everything in his wake; quality off-speed stuff on the outer half of the plate can give him problems, but it's not an alarming problem.
Like most catchers, Greiner isn't going to win any speed contests; well below-average runner who goes station to station; will be adequate on the bases as long as he's not asked to do much.
Usually catchers of his size struggle to play the position because it takes more time for them to get rid of the ball when coming out of the crouch, but he is a very good athlete with strong footwork and quick release; his size and average arm strength aren't a hindrance; limitations with him behind the plate will always be present, though not enough to push him below average defensively.
There are going to be runners who beat out Greiner's throws to second base because his arm strength isn't typical of an average catcher; has a good release but takes more time to get up, so the accuracy has to be spot-on in order to get speedy guys out.
MLB Player Comparison: Alex Avila
Greiner reminds me of a bigger version of Alex Avila on both sides of the ball. Neither player is going to win a Gold Glove behind the plate, but their athleticism and ability to call games, receive and get rid of the ball quickly make them solid defenders.
The South Carolina star has more raw power, but it plays at a similar level to Avila's in games due to some swing-and-miss issues.
Projection: Average catcher for first-division team
MLB ETA: 2016
Chances of Signing: 85 percent
It's time for Greiner to take his talents to professional baseball. He has elevated his stock greatly in just three years, going from an undrafted high school star to a top-100 talent in 2014. There's nothing left for the catcher to prove, and a lot more to lose, by going back to South Carolina for his senior season.