But since then, Greene has quickly moved up in the lineup and on Friday, he was slotted in as the leadoff man for the Tigers as they took on the Kansas City Royals.
Hitting leadoff is not something new to Greene as he did it last season with the Erie SeaWolves and Toledo Mud Hens, where he batted .301 with 24 homers and 84 RBI.
A.J. Hinch reveals where he wants Riley Greene to hit in lineup for foreseeable future
Prior to Saturday's game against the Royals, Tigers manager A.J. Hinch revealed that his goal is for Greene to bat in the leadoff spot for a very long time.
“My goal with Riley and where he’s going to hit,” manager AJ Hinch said before the game Saturday. “I hope he hits in the leadoff spot for the next six-plus years or however long he can be here. I think it’s important that the better hitters get the most at-bats.”
“I also think it’s important long-term to build a lineup where that’s not a question,” Hinch said. “Where we can have potent guys all through the lineup where he’s simply getting on base or driving in runs as the bottom of the order is getting on base.”
“Having a dangerous hitter at the top of the order is something I’ve grown to really like and appreciate,” said Hinch, who for years in Houston had George Springer at the top of his lineup. “As this lineup matures and we get healthy and you start to see better and better offense out of us, you’re going to see Riley in those important at-bats like he got in the ninth last night.”
Greene added that batting leadoff is not something that will change his approach.
“Yeah, I did it all last year so hitting leadoff, for me, it’s nothing different,” Greene said. “It just means more at-bats. Nothing changes. Just stick to the game plan.
As far as his lack of power numbers so far, Riley Greene is sticking with what he does.
“When there are runners in scoring position, I want to score them so we can win,” he said. “But I’m just trying to stick with what I do and whatever happens, happens. But I definitely want to get those runs in when I have the opportunity to.”
“If I’m ahead in the count, I am going to let it eat,” he said. “Because I feel I am good enough to where I will go back to my approach. I feel that’s big. Maybe I will hit a homer, maybe I will swing and miss. Who knows? But I trust myself to get back into my approach.”
Hinch said he just wants Riley Greene to be a productive player.
“We do the players a disservice when we start talking about what they’re not doing while they are doing other things that are positive,” Hinch said. “All of us fall into that trap. We want the perfect player, the perfect outcome. But we just want him to be a productive player.
“Power is a byproduct of a lot of different things. It’s up to us to let it play out how it’s going to play out. There are other guys in our lineup who are selling out for power and not having good at-bats. We have to be careful when we start nit-picking at trying to be perfect players.”
Hinch added that the mental strength of Riley Greene is one of the reasons why he moved him up in the lineup.
“One of the reasons I moved him up was because of his mental strength,” Hinch said. “He wasn’t fazed the least bit whether he hit fourth, fifth, second or first. The way he hung in against Carlos Rodon, that’s a very difficult at-bat against a shutdown lefty.
“All I know is, when he strolls up to the plate to start the game or in the bottom of the first, the pitcher better lock in.”
Nation, do you think putting Riley Greene in the leadoff spot is the correct decision?