Grayson Greiner wants to continue his family’s legacy at South Carolina. Perhaps more importantly for Gamecock fans, his parents want the same thing.
The power-hitting Blythewood catcher is among the best players in USC’s Class of 2012 recruiting haul and could go high enough in this summer’s MLB Draft to warrant skipping school altogether.
But if that happened, he’d lose the opportunity to etch the family name in the record book of a second USC sport. His father Mark played basketball for the Gamecocks in the 1970s.
“I know for a fact that my parents both want me there since they both went there,” Greiner said. “They can just drive down the road and watch me. Hopefully I can follow what my dad did.
“I’m not really thinking about it right now. I’m just thinking about my high school year. Right now I’m just ready to get up to Carolina.”
Greiner is certainly an intriguing prospect. At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, he’s already got a professional frame and he only figures to get bigger and stronger. That’s a scary thought for a player who had nine home runs in 2010 and has six already in 12 games this season.
A back-to-back Class AAAA all-state performer, Greiner is listed as the 89th-best prospect in the country and third-best in the state by PG Crosschecker. Diamond Prospects lists him as the Palmetto State’s top catcher and No. 4 overall prospect.
“No. 1, he’s a really, really good player, and No. 2, he’s probably an ever better kid,” Blythewood coach Barry Mizzell said. “He’s a great kid and a great student with a great work ethic and mind for the game.
“You don’t find many guys who are 6-5, 215 pounds, who run like he does, catches well, is agile and hits. He’s just a really good athlete.”
In fact, Mizzell believes he has the athleticism to play a number of different positions. Some recruiting analysts believe he could move to a corner infield position at the next level, and Mizzell doesn’t believe the demands placed upon him as a first or third baseman – or even a corner outfielder – would be too much.
Greiner and Mizzell have spent years working on his game behind the plate, however, and the protégé doesn’t want that work to go to waste. Greiner said his best trait is his understanding and mental approach to the game, an important part of playing catcher.
“That’s what I want to do,” Greiner said. “That’s what I’ve always done. That’s what I would prefer to do first, but if I had to move to another spot, I’d do whatever the coaches ask to get on the field.”
It may be hard to keep Greiner’s bat out of the lineup. Though he’s known as a power hitter, he’s also learned how to hit for average to all fields. He batted .442 with 39 RBIs last season, and hit .420 as a sophomore.
“Early in the count I try to get a pitch I can drive over the fence,” said Greiner, who is right handed. “When I get behind in the count, my focus turns to right center field, just putting the ball on the drive and trying to hit the ball hard to get on base any way that I can.”