It was a first for Elijah Green, the Washington Nationals’ 2022 first-round draft pick, and a top prospect, as he gave the fans a show today, and showed why Nationals fans can be excited about things to come. This was a great debut weekend for the Nats’ Class-A Fredericksburg affiliate to open their season — and have the weekend finish up on Green’s first pro walk-off.
The 19-year-old lost a ball in the sun during the 9th inning that led to the tying run for Lynchburg, but he showed true perseverance and grit as he was able to come up big for the team today in the bottom of the 10th inning with a laser, hit to left field, to walk-off the game.
It was a moment that will go down in history for both the Fredericksburg Nationals and for Green, who has already made a name for himself as one of the most promising young players in the league and a Top-100 prospect in all of baseball. Today his potential was on full display as he kept a calm demeanor and was able to deliver big time.
After the draft, the first-rounder said that he had hoped to be in Nationals Park in two to three years. He is with the right team, because the Nats have been a team that has shown the willingness to promote top prospects, when earned and regardless of age. From Bryce Harper (19 y.o.) to Juan Soto (19) to Luis Garcia (20), Victor Robles (20), CJ Abrams (21), age is clearly not the factor — just earn it.
Listed at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Green already has a frame built for the game even though he is still just 19. In the minors he will learn pitch recognition by repetition and his coaches will teach him on the finer points of the game. It is a game that will humble you at some point. The best ones get humbled less than others and adjust to the adjustments they make on you. He was drafted with the reputation of striking out too much. Green said he worked on his contact rates in the offseason. Every day is a learning experience.
With the winning run standing on third base, most teenagers would have been swinging for the fences instead of a controlled swing like Green exhibited. A single was all that was needed for the walk-off, and the FredNats’ center fielder delivered, like a seasoned veteran, even though his entire pro stats reveal that he only has 15 total games on that pro record, so far, that just spans from August 8, 2022 to present.
At just 19 years old, Green still has plenty of room to grow and develop as a player, which should have Nationals fans drooling as he had a dominant opening weekend with the Fredericksburg Nationals going 6-for-12 with a walk and two stolen bases that put his 5-tools on display.
“For me, it’s not just one tool. It’s everything he can do,” Nats’ manager Dave Martinez said. “I watched a lot of video of him before we drafted him. He can run, he can hit, he can hit for power. His defense, it looks like his first step was really good. For me, it’s exciting to have a kid that has that many tools.”— Nats’ manager Dave Martinez said after the 2022 draft
Again, just 15 games into his pro career and his father, former NFL All-Pro Eric Green, went there. He mentions the ‘clutch gene’, and you hope that in fact, even if scientists cannot definitively locate that in his DNA strands, that Mr. Green is proven correct by the statistics — and we see this empyrean clutch gene over and over in Nationals Park in the near future.
Green told me that his father will always have his back, and he also talked about that he has been living on his own since the age of 16 when he enrolled at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. It just added to his maturity level.
Also, with a father who was a pro athlete in the NFL, he told me that it certainly helped being around other pro athletes while growing up. Football players are known for their great work ethics. If you follow his father’s social media, you can see how hard they work in the offseason. Growing up in a professional sports family went a long way with him.
“It just gave me the correct mindset coming into pro ball and all that. The [athletes that I was around] just told me what to expect, and what I needed to do to get to the next level.”— Elijah Green told me at FredNats media day
In the organization, Green said that he already has both CJ Abrams and Dom Smith who have taken him in, and both have given him good advice as well as the ability to contact them if he needs anything.
With Green’s talent and potential, he could become a cornerstone of the Washington Nationals for years to come.