GSA Spotlight: Auburn’s Anfernee GrierFeatured
Auburn junior outfielder Anfernee Grier has been on a mission to prove his stock this spring, and that’s been nightmarish for opposing teams.
The Tigers experienced some magic during the 2015 campaign. The program reached the postseason for the first time since 2010, and Grier finished the season with a .323 batting average and solid numbers, most notably recording an impressive 22 doubles. However, scouts wanted to see what he was made of with a wood bat and with the USA Collegiate National Team. Grier, though, struggled, hitting .167 in just 18 at bats, leaving some question marks for the scouts, all while during this time trying to get through a tough bout with Mononucleosis.
Even with the diagnosis of Mono as the clear reason why he struggled in such a short stint over the summer, he entered fall workouts and the spring with something to prove. He needed to show more consistency and needed to decrease his strikeout total, while others wanted to see his power tool really take off with another offseason in the weight room.
Everything scouts and others wanted to see happen has come to fruition this season, as Grier, a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder, has developed into one of the nation’s most feared hitters, while also being the ringleader for one of the country’s most potent offenses.
“Last year when I was at [Mississippi] State, a lot of scouts were really down on Anfernee because of the way he finished the season, then he goes over to Cary and struggles with Team USA. Then he gets diagnosed with Mono, and it makes me wonder now if he was fighting through that the last few weeks of the season,” Auburn first-year coach Butch Thompson said. “If you put two and two together, that makes sense.
“What he’s doing this year makes it look like it’s been a miraculous turnaround, but there’s probably more to it than we ever knew when you look back at the situation now,” he continued. “I think everyone was kind of thinking that he’d tail off after dealing with that Mono thing, but I thought that was a little unfair to him. I don’t think people realize what he was going through. He still swings and misses a little bit now, but his strikeouts are down and his two-strike approach is much better. He’s a year older, and he’s a much better athlete than last season.”
Already a subscriber? Log In to access this article.