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Palmetto Games Preview

By: Will Cheatham - August 8, 2018

The final week of preparation for the 2018 Palmetto Games is upon us. This week always brings excitement to the baseball community of SC. I have been writing the preview of this event now for six years. It is fun to look back and see how not only the event has evolved but the players and coaches that have participated, what they have gone on to do in their futures.

My job responsibility for the very first Palmetto Games was to keep the book. Our goal was to create a long list of statistical data to look back over and have for years and years. I can still remember sitting in the first few rows at Sarge Frye Field with a physical book keeping up with everything. I would migrate to the dugout from time to time, and into the press box to get out of the heat also. That was the day that I learned a valuable lesson. I needed to always have my phone on me and always have the ringer turned on during a DP event. I do not recall what was needed but Austin Alexander was trying to track me down and my phone was in my bag with the ringer off as I always had it at the baseball field. When I was finally located I learned real quick that keeping my phone on was important going forward. I also would have really liked to have access to Game Changer back then as well!

I have tried a few ways to predict the outcome of this event. I have looked at statistical data, State Champion teams, total commitments and the honorary coaches. I believe that this event does a good job of predicting more what area of the state a State Champion team will come from. The overall winning percentage listed below has one team as the outlier and the rest similar to each other. I have also included the commitment numbers for this year’s rosters as well.

Win

Loss

Tie

Win %

Committed Players

NW

14

7

3

.646

14

NE

9

11

4

.458

13

MW

11

12

0

.478

10

ME

12

12

0

.500

8

SW

13

10

1

.563

5

SE

7

16

0

.304

7

If you take the small sample size from above I would say that the Northwest team has to be the favorite to win this year. They are made up of schools in the upstate that all went deep into the playoffs at their respective classes, and this is also a team with what looks like a lot of returning Palmetto Games participants.

GreinerGray tigers18This year’s alumni spotlight goes to Grayson Greiner is a graduate of Blythewood High School in 2011 and played for the University of South Carolina. Grayson and I had been texting some to schedule a time to talk and he was originally tied up for the day and then text me back to let me know he would be available whenever I was ready. I called him last night and this could not have been better timing. He was actually preparing to get on a plane Wednesday at 6:00 am (EST) to fly from Rochester, NY to Atlanta to Los Angeles to meet up with the Detroit Tigers and he was starting the 1:00 pm (PCT) game against the Angels. It was really awesome to get to now talk to him and go through my questions knowing that he was going back to the big league club in the morning, and when this article would get posted he would be on TV catching in The Show!

Q&A

DP-What is your fondest memory from your times at the Palmetto Games?

GG-The thing that I was most excited about was playing with and against guys that I knew was going to be my teammate at USC or guys that I knew that I was going to playing against at the next level. It was a really fun event, and it was hard to imagine at the time just how many really good players were at the event at the same time.

DP-Who was the toughest pitcher you faced at the PG’s?

GG-I don’t really know if I faced him at the PG’s but the toughest pitcher I faced in HS was Taylor Guerrieri

DP-What was it like when you got told you were going to the big leagues?

GG-We were playing in Durham against the Bulls and I was going through my normal pre-game routine.  When I got done with BP I noticed that there was a new lineup card posted and I was no longer catching, and not only that but I wasn’t on the lineup at all. Guys starting chatting some with me during the game about the possibility, and then after the game my manager called me in my office to let me know. It was extremely emotional and it was awesome because my wife, son, and dad were in town for that game so I got to tell them in person. 21 years of working for that goal paying off.

DP-What was one of the biggest “shocks” when you got called up?

GG-The game that I caught against the Angels their first four hitters in the lineup was Ian Kinsler, Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Justin Upton. When these guys came to hit they walked up and spoke and I was really star struck and realized I was playing with the “Big Boys.”

DP-Any words of advice you can give to this year participants?

GG-Have as much fun as you can while playing high school baseball. Every level that you move up the pressure to perform increases, and the talent around you is better and better.

2009 & 2010 Participant: Mideast Silver Slugger Award 2009

I also included the write up that was done in 2009 below.  Thank you to Grayson for taking the time to talk with me.

greinerg-stance09.jpgGrayson Greiner- Junior, Blythewood, USC commitment: Greiner (left) is a physical specimen as only a rising junior. Listed at 6-5, 195 pounds, Greiner has plenty of room to grow into an already impressive frame. He is an above average hitter already with plenty of projectable power from the right-side. Greiner may turn into South Carolina's version of a right-handed hitting Joe Mauer. Greiner has the makings of an elite catching prospect as he posted consistent POP times around the upper 1.9's and 2.0's. The only question mark surrounding Greiner is if he will outgrow the catching position. Even if he does outgrow the catching equipment, he will be an outstanding prospect at first base due to his athleticism and great feet.

One thing that is for certain is that I and my cohort on the field Tony Osterman look forward to this event each year. Where else can you put this type of talent on the field and give the players an opportunity to play in front of as many scouts as we will have in a two day period. Let us say a quick prayer for player safety and solid weather over this two day event.