Game One, Texas League Finals
This is the guy I wanted the Royals to draft in 2009. This was the guy that I was afraid wouldn’t make it to us at 12. This is the guy that I thought would be our future Shortstop prospect. So last night it was intriguing and heart breaking to watch him performing in a Rockhounds jersey. The biggest questions surrounding Green were about his defense. Can Grant stick at SS in the pros? Can he make the play in the hole? Can he make the play up the middle? Will he make to many errors? These are the questions you usually hear from people concerned about middle infield prospects. Well, Green answered all but a few of those defensive questions last night for me.
Grant made a nice back handed pick on a ball that he was charging hard and managed to throw an off balance strike to first base. Green also had a back hand dive on a smash that he fielded deep on the outfield grass. The ball looked like it was past him and safely into left field for a single, but he managed to snag the ball, get up, and throw a one hop rocket that was just late with speedy Paulo Orlando flying up the line. He also fielded a ball that would have started a double play, however there were two outs. But we did get to see him feed the second baseman. Grant also made the routine plays. The arm is there, the backhand is there. The only plays I didn’t get to see Green make were the ball up the middle to his left and taking a throw from the catcher. However, I was able to see him pick a short hop throw between innings. I’m sure there are still a few things on defense that he needs to improve, but he was legit last night.
Although he struck out twice, he had an advanced approach at the plate from the few at bats I saw. He was patient, but aggressive on the fastball in the zone. And his bat made a different noise than all the other players on the field except Hosmer. It was just louder and stronger. Some of you guys know what I’m talking about.
As far as swing mechanics he seemed to have a fairly short swing. Green hit three line drives, and all were frozen ropes. The two that ended up as outs looked like sure singles but both carried to outfielders because of the extreme amount of backspin he creates on the ball. In his second at bat Grant swung first pitch fastball away against Duffy, and just missed hitting a home run. The ball ended up chest high to the right fielder and it was on a line.
From looking at Grants stats, he seems to have some trouble making consistent contact with over 115 strike outs in 580 at bats. That was evident last night in two at bats in which he struck out. After fouling off a 94 mph fastball, Grant got an extremely nasty curveball down and in from Blake Johnson and swung over the top. I would like to see him cut down on his strike outs below 100, but he hit over .300 and had 20 bombs even striking out almost 22% of the time. Green had 39 doubles this year to go with those home runs. And his extra base hit percentage was nearly 40%. This is outstanding.
Green seems to have quick hands with a fairly short line drive swing. The stats say he has power, and he does. The ball jumps off his bat. He will continue to hit through all level, even hitting at the Major League level. Defense was the question but I believe he will stick at SS first at least the first 5 or 6 years in the majors. Whether he sticks past that point is uncertain, but he is fast enough, quick enough, and nimble enough to be a SS at the MLB level. And there should be no questions about his arm strength. All in all, I hope Crow pans out, but I really wish Grant Green was in our system. He is a future All Star for Oakland.