Coming into the 2022 MLB season, Riley Greene was the player that most Tiger fans were most excited about. Furthermore, he had a great start to spring training to make the hype train grow exponentially. However, Greene suffered an injury in spring training that delayed his MLB debut all the way until June 18, 2022.
Riley Greene: Hot Start
During Riley Greene’s first 12 games of the season the Detroit Tigers went 6-6 and Riley Greene was playing a huge role. Greene was hitting .302 with a phenomenal On Base Percentage of .434 and an OPS of .876. Furthermore, he was the sparkplug to this resurgent Detroit Tigers offense. He was looking like the rookie star the Tigers desperately needed.
Riley Greene: Cool Down
However, Riley Greene came back down to earth as the season went along. Greene finished the season with a batting average of .253, and On Base Percentage of .321, a slugging percentage of .362 and an OPS of .682. By all metrics, those are very poor numbers but the narrative I kept hearing about him was how he was a positive to this season. If that is the case, that shows more about the Tigers being horrible than it does about Riley Greene being good.
Lack Of Power
My biggest gripe with Riley Greene was his inability to hit for power. His .253 batting average and .321 On Base Percentage was below average but not terrible. However, it was Greene’s power numbers that were bafflingly bad.
Firstly, he only hit 5 Home Runs in 93 games played. That is a pace of 8.7 home runs per 162 games which is a full MLB season. Single digit home runs should be absolutely unacceptable for someone who has as much raw talent and power as Riley Greene.
Power Numbers in Context
However, it’s not just home runs that quantify power. Riley Greene’s slugging percentage was a putrid .362. Among qualified batters, he would have ranked 58th out of a possible 65 in the American League in slugging percentage this past season. He also had an OPS of .682. Anything under .700 is a bad OPS. Furthermore, his OPS would have been tied for 54th out of possible 65 qualified batters in the American League this past season. That is not the kind of numbers Tigers fans should expect Riley Greene’s numbers to be associated with.
I understand that Riley Greene was a rookie going through rookie growing pains. Furthermore, I expect him to be a very good player for the Detroit Tigers. However, I saw some very alarming things from this season that keep me from buying in fully. His lack of power hitting is something that is going to need to be addressed. There is no excuse to be on pace for less than 10 home runs for a full season and have a Slugging Percentage of less than .400 and an OPS of less than .700. Tiger’s fans should treat Riley Greene as someone who disappointed rather than encouraged.
Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski