Former Evans High School baseball player Todd Greene is currently battling for the first-string catcher's job with the Texas Rangers, and the slugger is putting up a good fight.
Greene's competition, Einar Diaz, is known as an excellent defensive player behind the plate, but when it comes to hitting, it's no contest.
Greene boosted his batting average to .385 through 12 spring games with the Rangers, going 10 for 26 with three doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs. He is one back of the team lead in home runs, despite having half the number of at-bats as the two players in front of him.
Also, Greene's RBI total places him fifth on the squad.
Diaz, meanwhile, is hitting .250 with only five RBIs and no home runs.
Texas has another option at catcher in Chad Krueter. The veteran is batting .279, and has played in only seven games (11 at-bats) because of a hyper-extended elbow on his throwing arm.
Injuries also have hampered Diaz and Greene, who both have tender knees.
During the off-season, the Rangers' management stated that they hoped to get Greene 400 to 500 at-bats this season, and the plan was to use him at catcher, left field, first base and designated hitter.
If Greene stays healthy and has enough plate appearances, expect some big offensive numbers from the right-handed hitter.
Last season, he hit 10 home runs and averaged one homer per 11 at-bats, which tied him with Alex Rodriguez for the best ratio on the team. No other Ranger was even close.
Shanks draws praise
In this month's issue of Beckett Baseball Card Monthly, former Greenbrier High School baseball star James Shanks is highlighted as one of the top three prospects in the Kansas City Royals organization.
Shanks' stock shot through the roof last year, when he posted a .295 batting average in his first full minor-league season.
Additionally, Shanks swiped 26 bases, struck out just 94 times in 515 at-bats, and he drove in 53 runs despite batting in the leadoff position. Shanks led the Royals' Class A affiliate in stolen bases, and he also was second on the Burlington, Iowa team in runs scored.
Shanks displayed some power as well, with six home runs and 26 doubles.
Thanks to that production, Shanks will likely start this season in Delaware with the Wilmington Blue Rocks, Kansas City's high Class A affiliate.
And don't be surprised if Shanks makes a quick jump to AA Wichita.
Kansas City is trying to bring the outfielder along slowly, but if Shanks continues to improve, that Royals might scrap that idea.
Tydus Meadows, another Columbia County native, is also faring well in minor league baseball.
Actually, it's a bit puzzling why the former Evans High player isn't moving up the ladder more quickly.
Meadows is an outfielder in the Royals' farm system, and in 32 games at the Double A level last season, he hit .339 with three home runs and 17 RBIs. This year, Meadows will either be back in AA at Wilmington, or he could move up to play at the AAA level with Omaha.
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