Top Draft prospect Greene headlines inaugural Dream Series

MLB, USA Baseball launch event to help develop diverse high school pitchers and catchers

Top Draft prospect Greene headlines inaugural Dream Series

Major League Baseball is determined to discover the best baseball talent in the country and allow gifted amateurs from every background to showcase their skills on a national level.

This week, MLB and USA Baseball launched their inaugural Dream Series, a special event created to provide exposure and development opportunities for a diverse group of high school pitchers and catchers from around the United States, headlined by MLB.com's No. 1 Draft prospect, Hunter Greene. The series, to be held Thursday through Sunday, is the first major event in a chain of amateur development camps planned for 2017, designed to serve minority high school players and give them a chance to get recognized by pro scouts.

Greene, a longtime participant at the MLB Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., will still only be 17 years old when the 2017 MLB Draft takes place on June 12-14. The right-hander, who was the youngest member of USA Baseball's 18U National Team in 2015, boasts a lively fastball that touches the upper 90s and a sharp breaking ball that sits in the low 80s. At 6-foot-4 and 197 pounds, Greene began as a shortstop, thanks to his defensive ability and feel at the plate, but he has focused on honing his skills on the mound this year and now even boasts a changeup.

The top prospect out of Notre Dame High School in suburban Los Angeles was discovered largely through Major League Baseball's efforts to develop minority players at an amateur level. Greene began going to the Urban Youth Academy in Compton when he was in second or third grade, and he got to play in the RBI World Series just a couple years ago. Thanks to the mentorship and coaching he received, Greene eventually made the 15U team for Team USA. Later, he showcased his raw talent at the Elite Development Invitational, eventually gaining notoriety on the national stage. Now he will again put his tools on display at MLB's first Dream Series.

The event, a subset of MLB's Breakthrough Series, will begin with a welcome dinner on Thursday and will be followed by on-field programs over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. The Dream Series is cost-free for all participants, and a contingent of college recruiters and professional scouts is expected to attend. Participants will receive on-field training from professional-level players and coaches, members of the USA Baseball and USA Softball staff, and former Major League players and managers, including Dave Stewart, Marvin Freeman, LaTroy Hawkins, Bob Didier, Charles Johnson and Jerry Manuel.

Participants will also listen to presentations on a variety of off-field topics geared toward preparing them for the next stages of their baseball and academic careers. Player evaluations will be led and compiled by former Minor League player, executive and scout Reggie Waller, as well as Minnesota Twins professional scout Greg Orr.

The event is an attempt to help undiscovered amateur athletes follow a similar path to that of Greene. MLB hopes to continue helping these under-represented youth players every step of the way, through other Breakthrough Series events, opportunities to participate at Urban Youth Academies and the Elite Development Invitational showcase.

Lindor visits Urban Youth kids

Approximately 140 previous participants of the Breakthrough Series have been selected in the MLB Draft, including nearly 40 in 2015 and 2016 combined -- the most for Breakthrough Series alumni in a two-year span. Additionally, participants in previous Breakthrough Series events have committed to collegiate baseball programs such as Arizona State, Cincinnati, Florida State, Georgia Tech, LSU, Miami, Michigan, North Carolina, UC Irvine, USC, San Diego State, Vanderbilt and more.

In the end, the goal is to find as many Hunter Greenes as possible, with the Dream Series becoming the latest step in that discovery process.