Welcome to Washington, Elijah Green!
“Well above-average runner, above-average arm. Some of the best raw power in the draft,” Washington Nationals’ Assistant GM and VP of Scouting Ops Kris Kline said of the No. 5 overall pick selected in this year’s draft, outfielder Elijah Green, who joined the organization back on July 17th (or more officially when he signed his contract).
It wasn’t just the physical tools which stood out for Kline, who described their new, 18-year-old prospect as a, “tremendous make-up kid,” with, “good character,” who was, “very smart, ” and was a, “wonderful human being.”
“He has a chance to be a middle of the order bat,” Kline added, “run-producer, and a guy — the type of character and ability that you build your team around. He would be one of those types of players.”
Green, for his part, said he was obviously excited to join the Nationals and get started on his pro career.
“I know baseball is a grind,” he said on the night of the draft, “… so I’m always going to be patient with it. I’m just going to keep my head down, work hard every day, and whenever I get my time, I get my time.”
Green got an opportunity to visit the nation’s capital last night, and Nats’ manager Davey Martinez got to meet the outfielder, and watch him take batting practice with the rest of their team.
“Came into my office, really good kid, very polite,” Martinez told reporters at his pregame press conference in Nationals Park.
“Big kid. I told him, I said, ‘Man, I got drafted years ago and I was 5’10”, 145 lbs, those days are over. But he’s all excited about being here, and being a National. I can’t wait to get started. Full of energy. Which is nice. Looking forward for him to go down there [to West Palm Beach, FL.] and stay playing and getting ready.”
The size of the young man clearly made an impression on the manager.
“He’s a big kid for being 18. He seems like he’s got all the right intentions about what to do, how to go down there, how to approach it everything. And like I said, I’m looking forward to watching his growth over the years, and let him go play. I mean, I’m actually looking forward to watching him take BP. He’s going to take BP with us here in a little while, so I get to see him hit a little bit.”
Green was listed as 6’4”, 225 pounds going into the draft, and was ranked by MLB Pipeline’s scouts as the No. 3 prospect overall this year, but the son of former NFL Pro Bowl tight end Eric Green (who was 6’5”, 250 in his playing days in the NFL), was still available at No. 5, and the Nationals got him, and added him to the organization after he went 36 for 78 (for a .462 AVG) with 11 doubles, nine home runs, 15 stolen bases, 21 walks, 21 strikeouts, and 40 runs scored as a senior at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL this season.
Martinez read the scouting reports, and watched a lot of video on him, so what tools stood out of all the ones which were highlighted in the scouting and in the lead-up to the draft?
“For me, it’s not just one tool, it’s everything he can do,” Martinez said. “I watched a lot of video of him before we drafted him, and he can run, he can hit, he can hit for power, his defense looks like his first step was really good, so for me it was exciting to have a kid that has that many tools, and be able to go down and just work on everything, and get him ready to play up here in the major leagues. As I told him, like I told everybody about it—every level things get a little quicker. Baseball is baseball, you’ve been playing baseball for a long time, just things will start getting quicker on you, so just learn, take everything in stride, learn, and have everybody play up to your standards, and play every day that way and things will work out for you, so go down there and knock the door down and get back here as soon as you can. We’re looking forward to getting you up here.”
The combination of size, power, and speed, Martinez said, is special, and it’s the kind of talent you get picking fifth overall in the MLB Draft.
“It’s huge, it really is,” Martinez told reporters. “With that being said, he’s still fairly young, so we really believe he’s going to fill out, right, and so in order for him to continue to have that speed, there’s a lot of agility, he’s still got to run, but he’s going to fill out, he’s going to be a little bit bigger than what he is now, but you know, like I said, he’s got all the tools to be really, really, really good, and like I said, we’re looking forward to getting him down there and getting him going.”
Martinez’s take on what he saw from Green in BP?
“Pretty impressive,” he said after the Nationals’ 6-2 loss to the Cardinals. “Not bad for an 18-year-old.
“Like I said earlier, I can’t wait to get him down there and get him some real reps, get him some at-bats, and get him going and then come to see him in Spring Training.”