High school slugger Phillies' top pick

High school slugger Phillies' top pick

Larry Greene is a big kid with a chance to hit a lot of home runs someday at Citizens Bank Park.

His power potential is why the Phillies selected him on Monday with the 39th overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft. Greene is a left-handed-hitting corner outfielder who shares similarities to Class A Clearwater first baseman Jonathan Singleton, whom MLB.com ranked as the No. 30 prospect in baseball entering this season.

"He's a man amongst young men," Phillies director of scouting Marti Wolever said of Greene. "He is really strong and powerful. He's just a really good athlete. He might have a little bit more power [than Singleton]. He's built like him. His stroke is comparable. The bat speed is comparable."

Greene, 18, hit .562 with 11 doubles, one triple, 19 home runs, 52 RBIs, 58 runs scored and 13 stolen bases this season for Berrien County High School in Nashville, Ga. Greene, who is 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, earned a football scholarship to Alabama, but he will play baseball.

Greene has committed to Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla. The outfielder said he isn't sure if he would bypass pro ball for college, but he sounded like he wants to sign.

Greene is a talented athlete who had a difficult year. His mother, who was diabetic, died just after Christmas.

"It was pretty hard to go through, but me and my dad made it through," Greene said. "We made it this far. She's watching us now."

Baseball America ranked Greene its 75th overall prospect. The magazine compared Greene to Russell Branyan, but Wolever does not think that comparison fits because he believes Greene will make better contact. He also thinks Greene is much better than 75th overall. He got a strong recommendation from area scout Aaron Jersild, who saw Greene play extensively.

Greene projects as an average outfielder defensively.

"We thought he was the best option for us," Wolever said. "We did a lot of work and spent a lot of time this year watching him play."

Greene is a soft-spoken kid who admitted he wasn't sure he would be picked so high.

"I knew I was good, but I didn't think I was that good," Greene said.

Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft resumes at noon ET Tuesday on MLB.com with exclusive coverage of Day 2 and 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player. The Phillies' next selection will be in the second round (66th overall).

You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

"I'm excited about [Tuesday]," Wolever said. "There are some good players out there yet. There are some attractive needs for the organization that are still out there."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.