Going for the Green, I Grant you that #Nats

What does that title mean? Just a fun play on words for the Nats signing former phenom Grant Green who so far has been a bust in his MLB career while playing in the State of California. Green was signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League camp for Spring Training.

Grant Green is part of that Stephen Strasburg 2009 draft class, and the two were the highest rated California college players. Green was the star shortstop for USC and batted .390 as a Sophomore and .374 as a Junior.  Green was chosen twelve spots after Strasburg and twelve spots ahead of Mike Trout in that 2009 draft, and Green was chosen three spots after Drew Storen and four spots after Jacob Turner who coincidentally was also recently signed by the Washington Nationals.

The other tidbit about Grant Green is that he is represented by Scott Boras and will be the 10th Boras client who will be in Nationals’ big league camp along with fellow Boras teammates Anthony Rendon, Brian Goodwin, Bryce Harper, Gio Gonzalez, Jayson Werth, Max Scherzer, Oliver Perez, Stephen Drew, and Stephen Strasburg.

Green, who turns 30-years-old next September, has been a good player in Triple-A where he has slashed .313/.351/.470/.822, but in his brief MLB career he has not been able to get on base at a rate high enough to make him a viable MLB player with a slash that is also short on power: .251/.286/.339/.625.

The right-handed hitting Green has reverse splits and hits righties better than lefties, and in small sample sizes was actually very good when batting 2nd (.350/.381/.500/.881) in the batting order. Don’t expect Green to hit 2nd in the Nats batting order so he will have to prove himself in other ways.

One thing Green can do is play every infield position as well as the corner outfield, and FanGraphs rates Green a slight negative UZR in each spot in their cumulative numbers. Versatility is a plus for Green, but can he hit? That is the million dollar question for a player entering his 9th season of professional baseball where there are literally hundreds of players from that 2009 draft who have already retired. Give Green credit for his perseverance.

The Nationals could be the first team that Green could be a part of outside of teams in California. Green was born in California, was drafted originally by San Diego out of High School but turned down San Diego and attended the University of Southern California and was then drafted and signed with the Oakland A’s. From the A’s, Green went to the Los Angeles Angels and then played for the San Francisco Giants. Could a trip to the East coast be what Green needs?

Well, how’s about in northeast NL East/AL East ballparks, Grant Green has a .419 batting average with a .468 OBP in 47 at-bats. In all other ballparks, Green bats a combined .225. How do you explain that?

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