Stroman expects Hunter Greene to bring culture shift to MLB

Lucas Casaletto
Alex Trautwig / Major League Baseball / Getty

Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman believes Hunter Greene - the highly touted shortstop and pitcher drafted second overall by the Cincinnati Reds - has what it takes to become an icon for young, aspiring African-American baseball players.

"Thank God he is coming," Stroman said, according to Joon Lee of Bleacher Report Magazine. "We need him.

"... He's so vital because those kids are going to be picking up those magazines and saying, 'Who's this?' A black baseball player? A pitcher? Who is throwing 102?' Once you see all of that, that's what sparks the interest in that younger culture. That's what leads to saying, 'Hey, I'm going to go pitch like Hunter Greene.'"

Greene represents a new form of hybrid talent emerging from the college, international, and high school ranks. Along with Tampa Bay Rays prospect and fourth overall selection Brendan McKay, and Japanese sensation Shohei Otani, Greene possesses the attractive and unusual ability to pitch, hit, and play the field.

Several current African-American major leaguers have spoken out on the lack of diversity in the game today. In 2016, only 8.3 percent of players in MLB were black, according to Lee. Greene's only the fourth African-American pitcher to be selected in the top five of the draft in the first 16 years of the century, following David Price, Dillon Tate, and Dewon Brazelton.