Have we saved the best for last? Third-ranked prospect Elijah Green rounds out our Prospect Spotlight Series as Opening Day looms large for the Washington Nationals.
Nationals fans have seen Elijah Green's skills during spring training. The 19-year-old and 46th overall ranked prospect in the minors posted a .333 batting average with three runs batted in, including a triple that showcased his blazing speed around the bases. The fifth overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft has gotten many at-bats in the back fields of the Nationals complex. It's hard to obtain video of said games, but not for Nationals fans, courtesy of Eric Green, Elijah's father.
At pick number five, the Nationals got great value with Green. According to mlb.com, Elijah was the third-best prospect in the 2022 draft, behind Druw Jones and Jackson Holiday. At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Elijah Green's potential is through the roof. A 19-year-old as developed as Green is uncommon. The combination of power and speed could develop into lethal weapons for the center fielder. His strength translates to the field as he possesses plus arm strength. Green's speed will allow him to stay in center.
Swing-and-miss capability will hold Green back until he learns to cut back on his swing. In his senior year of high school, Elijah struck out 20 percent of the time, according to maxpreps.com. Some of that could be due to trying to hit the ball out of the park. Green has the natural power to all fields but limiting his swing at the correct times will allow him to expand his game at the plate.
19-year-old hitters want to hit home runs. Players who want to hit home runs tend to swing and miss more than others. A full season of professional baseball will teach Elijah to be patient at the plate and his strikeout rate should go down. Green's stint at the Nationals Florida Complex League was productive as he hit .302 with two home runs, but struck out 21 of 52 plate appearances, according to baseball-reference.com.
Developmental Expectations & Major League ETA
A star, that's it. Elijah Green has the chance to be a superstar in the MLB. He has the tools, the frame, and the mindset to become what the Nationals drafted him to be. That being said, we may not see him up with the Nationals until 2025/26 since he is still so young and the organization will not want to rush his development.
Nats fans, if that video doesn't excite you, I'm not sure what will. Elijah flew around the bases for his lone triple during spring training. Again, it's been great to see videos of Green this spring courtesy of his father.
At just 19 years old, Green does have some developing to do at the plate regarding his swing and miss frequency. Young hitters often improve their eye with the bat with experience at the professional level. For the 2023 season, the expectation is for Green to produce at the plate while limiting his strikeouts.
Green is one of the most exciting players in the Nationals' minor league system and a great way to wrap up the Prospect Spotlight Series. Look for another series to take its place on Tuesdays! I've thoroughly enjoyed the interaction of these articles from fans and players.