2017 Major League Baseball Draft

Source: Alex Trautwig / Getty

For some prospects at the MLB draft, it’s about making it to the league. But for Hunter Greene and Jordon Adell, it’s also about drawing more Black folks to the sport.

Greene, a high school shortstop pitcher was selected second overall by the Cincinnati Reds, graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and has been compared to LeBron James and Babe Ruth because of his ability to take over and dominate the game at all positions. He got his start at age 7 playing at the league’s first Urban Youth Academy. Despite the popularity of the game rapidly dropping, Greene’s interest held steady.

“It’s a sport that people are kind of shying away from and going to other sports to compete in,” Greene told the NY Times.

Some eight picks later, the Los Angeles Angels selected Adell, a right-handed pitcher and outfielder from the Louisville, Ky. area.

When asked to name the players he looks up to, he named New York Mets star Curtis Granderson, Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones and Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain. The MLB newbie not only looks up to their accomplishments on the field, but the fact that they’re also Black gives him even more motivation.

“That’s always the motivation that, ‘Hey, look, these guys look like you, they did it,’” Adell said of his decision to attend the draft.

While the first pick of the draft went to the Minnesota Twins, who chose Royce Lewis out of California, having two Black hitters going so high in the draft is a good look for the MLB’s diverse future.

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