There were only four prospects in attendance at M.L.B. Network Studios on Monday for baseball’s first-year player draft. Two of those players—Hunter Greene and Jordon Adell—are African-American, and hope to draw more Blacks in this country into the sport, according to the New York Times.
Greene, 17, was selected second over all by the Cincinnati Reds, and recently graced the cover of Sports Illustrated. He has been compared to great athletes like LeBron James and Babe Ruth because of his range of ability.
Green has played both shortstop and pitcher at Notre Dame High School near Los Angeles. The Times reports that he was 7 when he began playing at Major League Baseball’s first Urban Youth Academy, at what was then Compton Community College.
“[Baseball] is a sport that people are kind of shying away from and going to other sports to compete in,” Greene said.
Eight picks after Greene was drafted, the Los Angeles Angels selected Adell, an outfielder and right-handed pitcher from Ballard High School, just outside Louisville, Kentucky.
Adell, 18, pointed to Curtis Granderson, Adam Jones and Lorenzo Cain as his favorite players and his inspiration.
He recently told Sporting News that he really encourages youth to consider other sports besides basketball and football.
“My message is really just this: Look at me and the type of athlete that I am, and these kids resemble how I was coming through middle school, a really good athlete who played everything. I played some stuff because my buddies played,” he says. “My message to them is, whatever you really want to do, take it and run with it. If it’s tennis, and you love tennis, then do it. If you’re a bowler and you love to bowl, then do that. But don’t play football because your friend plays or your mom said you need to play. And don’t play basketball because your brother plays and you feel like that’s the only sport for you. Really try to figure out what you enjoy.”