Hitting prowess came first for Greinke

Hitting prowess came first for Greinke

Zack Greinke, P, Dodgers
Hometown: Orlando, Fla.

Zack Greinke has been eating, breathing, sleeping, doing everything baseball since his Little League days in Orlando. But the right-hander made his mark as a hitter before he took the mound.

Greinke was a shortstop by trade, and he excelled at the plate with Apopka High School, batting over .400 in his career. He still talks about how much he loves to hit. Greinke spent time in relief, but he didn't become a starting pitcher until his senior year.

Greinke went 9-2 that year with a 0.55 ERA and 118 strikeouts on his way to winning the 2002 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year.

The Royals took Greinke sixth overall overall in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, and he took a quick route to the Major Leagues, debuting with Kansas City in 2004.

Greinke's brother, Luke, also a right-handed pitcher, was a 12th-round pick in the 2008 Draft by the Yankees but was released in '09.

Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.