Our second straight middle infielder on the list, the Astros acquired Tyler Greene from St. Louis last August. Jeff Luhnow had originally drafted Greene in the first round back in 2005 and apparently still has a man-crush on the 6-foot 2-inch 190 pounder from Plantation Florida.
Tyler Greene ( Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Greene displayed some power in the minors, blasting 20 homeruns in his first full season of pro ball. He moved through the Cards’ system rather quickly and reached the big leagues in 2009. But Greene struggled to stay in the show and spent three seasons shuttling back-and-forth between St. Louis and Memphis. His minor league numbers were encouraging but the Cardinals didn’t seem to have a place for Greene on their big league roster. Enter the Astros.
Upon his arrival in Houston, Greene immediately took over as the starting shortstop. With Jed Lowrie on the shelf due to a knee injury Greene got an opportunity to show what he could do. He responded, hitting a homerun in his first start to help the Astros beat Milwaukee. Greene held down the job until Lowrie returned in mid-September. At that point Tyler assumed the role of utility player, spelling Lowrie and Jose Altuve as well as serving as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner.
Greene finished the year with a .230/.274/.400 slash line. His numbers with the Astros were slightly higher and included a .460 slugging percentage. In 133 plate appearances with Houston, Greene hit seven homers. The down side of the equation was his strikeout total of 39.
Entering his age 29 season it’s time for Greene to take his game to the next level. If the Astros decide to trade Jed Lowrie, Greene will be given a chance to win the starting job at shortstop. If Lowrie stays, Greene will most likely be used in a utility role. After playing shortstop in 585 of his 603 minor league games Greene has only played half of his games at the position as a big leaguer. He had a few defensive lapses last season and will need to improve with the glove if he wants to be an everyday shortstop.