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Rusty Greer Prospect Retro

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Rusy Greer was drafted in the 10th round by the Texas Rangers in 1990, from the University of Montevallo in Alabama. His pro debut was a huge success: he hit .345/.450/.584 in 62 games for Butte in the Pioneer League, with 10 homers, 41 walks, and just 23 strikeouts in 226 at-bats. Obviously this was excellent performance: lots of power, excellent strike zone judgment, low strikeout rate. Despite the gaudy numbers he wasn't listed among the Top Ten prospects in the league by Baseball America: lots of college guys tear up the Pioneer, but don't carry forward to higher levels. Nowadays I'd give a similar player a C+ or B- grade, depending on scouting reports.

Greer began 1991 with Charlotte in the Florida State League, hitting .294/.400/.402 in 111 games. He hit just five homers, but once again showed excellent strike zone judgment, with 66 walks and 48 strikeouts in 388 at-bats. Promoted to Double-A down the stretch, he hit .297/.450/.547 in 20 games. He was starting to get noticed at this point, scouts liking his swing and his contact ability, but wondering about his home run potential. Grade B probably nowadays.

Greer returned to Tulsa in 1992 and had a mediocre season, hitting just .267/.378/.393 in 106 games. He continued to show good strike zone judgment, with 60 walks and 63 strikeouts in 359 at-bats, but his power dropped off and he lost 30 points in batting average. Given the fact that his strike zone judgment didn't slip, the loss in batting average was probably just bad luck. But he was 23 years old, and couldn't afford much in the way of bad luck in order to remain an intriguing prospect. I'd probably reduce him to Grade C+ now.

Greer rebounded in '93, hitting .291/.370/.464 with 15 homers in 129 games for Tulsa, regaining the lost batting average and adding power production. Now 24 years old, he was getting attention as a decent prospect but wasn't considered a future star, or even perhaps a future regular, being possibly a "tweener" lacking the pure power for an outfield corner. Given his league repeater status I might go with C+ again, or maybe B-.

Greer spent most of 1994 with the Rangers, hitting .314/.410/.487 in 80 games. He was mediocre in 1995, but had a prototype age 27 peak campaign in 1996, hitting .332/.397/.530 in 139 games with 100 RBI. He leveled out, then gradually declined, hampered by nagging injuries late in his career.

He finished with a career mark of .305/.387/.478 in 1027 games, OPS +120, damn solid performance from anyone, especially an unheralded 10th round pick who spent two and a half years in Double-A. His best marker in the minors was strong strike zone judgment, a trait he carried forward to the Show.