Age: 18 (4 December 2003)
Weight: 225 lbs.
School: IMG Academy (FL)
Hit: 45/55 | Power: 60/70 | Run: 70 | Arm: 60 | Field: 60 | Overall: 60
Scouts have been salivating over Elijah Green for more than a year now. As early as May or June of last year, scouting departments were already looking ahead to Elijah Green being the potential 1-1 selection of this year’s draft. When looking at his tools, it is not difficult to see why. Green is the son of former NFL Pro Bowl tight end Eric Green, and at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, he looks more like someone expecting to follow in his father’s footsteps than to step onto a baseball diamond. Yet, here we are. Due to being identified so early as the top prospect in the 2022 class, Green underwent the fairly typical process of extreme hype, followed by extreme scrutiny. He put up solid numbers for IMG as a junior, batting .321 with 6 home runs and 10 steals, but his 34/16 strikeout-to-walk ratio raised concerns with his hit tool.
Those concerns were later reinforced during the showcase circuit in the summer of 2021, when Green showed more swing-and-miss than scouts had hoped. Most prospect ranking sites dropped the grade on his hit tool and also Green’s overall standing, placing him below fellow prep hitters Druw Jones and Termarr Johnson.
More recently, Green seems to have turned things around a bit this year, batting .462 with 9 home runs, 15 steals, and 21 walks to 21 strikeouts. With this new-found patience at the plate, Green remains firmly in the top-five prospects of this year’s draft.
Few players in recent memory can match the size (6’3, 220) and athleticism of Elijah Green. He earns plus-plus grades for his raw power and speed, plus grades for his arm strength, and has the potential to be a plus defender anywhere in the outfield. Green is potentially the ultimate toolshed, an actual five-tool player in the truest sense of the term. Green possesses what some outlets have called 70 grade raw power that leads to huge exit velocities that have been north of 110 mph as an 18 year old. Green’s 70 grade run plays both in the outfield and with the bat, on both infield base hits or stretching for extra bases. One need look no further than the human highlight reel of Shohei Ohtani to see how that works. As of now, Green presents a compact right handed swing that’s extremely short to the ball with nearly no load but clear plus bat speed that allows Green to consistently reach all of his natural strength and raw power consistently. Clear plus arm strength with the speed and glove to stick in centerfield long term if the body stays under control.
Green exhibits plus bat speed, quickness, and strength in hands which will reliably produce power numbers. Unlike the previous entrants in this series, Green does not cultivate a strong bat-to-ball type approach. Instead, Green will make the pitcher pay for mistakes. Like any swing built for damage, strikeouts have proven to be a concern. However, if Green is able to tame his aggressive tendencies, the result could be 40+ HR production.
At the plate, Green employs a strong, wider base with his hands up, but held relaxed. Green’s pre-pitch mechanics have some noticeable inconsistencies which have resulted in his not always being “on time” against higher velocity pitches. Green is an aggressive pitch hunter and can get a bit over anxious. As a result, his lower half timing varies: no stride, slight stride, toe tap. While this allows him to adjust his timing, it also makes it much more difficult for him to repeat his swing reliably, leading to some off timing that needs to be corrected. This is where his strikeout issues have stemmed from in the past. Unlike his stride, Green is more more consistent in his hand loading. Has enough bat speed to compensate for timing discrepancies right now, but as pitching advances a more consistent pre-pitch operation will be needed. However, when Green remains relaxed and fluid and gets all the parts working with proper timing, Green puts on one hell of a fireworks show.
Defensively, Green is a very good defender. There is little doubt that Green possesses the ability to stay in center field long term. Though, there is a chance that his hitting profile and his cannon for an arm (which is not only strong, but also accurate) may eventually lead him to being moved into right field. Green already possesses fairly decent, proper reads off barrel. Meanwhile, he is able to use his elite speed to make up for any late jumps or missteps.
Comps: Three names have regularly been attached to Green as comps; Jo Adell, Luis Robert, and Justin Upton. These three names are somewhat telling in the sort of boom/bust potential that Green represents. Luis Robert is a burgeoning star, despite not yet having put all the pieces together. Jo Adell is bordering on being a total bust, despite having a plethora of loud tools at his disposal. Justin Upton was one of the better first overall selections of the last twenty years, managing to be a multi-time all-star and legitimate MVP candidate - despite never actually reaching his full potential. If Green reaches his full potential, he projects to be a better player than any of them. On the other hand, should Green struggle to adjust to elite pitching, having the swing-and-miss issues creep back into his hit tool, Green could easily flame out, as his power only serves him if he can make reliable contact often enough.
Summation: It’s extremely rare to find a center field prospect with two legitimate plus tools, even double-plus that play extremely well in game, and that’s what makes Elijah Green so tantalizing. There’s swing and miss in the profile, but also consistent triple-digit exit velocities from a teenager and an ability to swipe 20 bags annually from a NFL strong safety type frame that makes scouts and General Managers dream big about power and durability. Green could be pushed to right field as he reaches his prime, as his reads and athleticism will allow him to patrol the corners just fine and his arm plays up in right, equating to a plus defender anywhere in the grass. There’s been some swing changes in the past year that could simplify things for Green and allow his hit tool to begin the difficult task of once again trending upward. In short, Elijah Green has been on MLB teams’ radars since his freshman season. One rarely sees this type of athleticism and power in a high school prospect. Despite the heavy scrutiny Green has undergone over the last two years, he has continued to perform and to make the necessary adjustments to rank as a top-five selection in this draft.
A note on Green and the possibility of him winding up with the Diamondbacks: If there has been any sort of “type” that Mike Hazen has gravitated towards, Green is the antithesis of that. Green is a massive specimen for his age and is not understated in any way whatsoever. He is also not a disciplined player, relying instead on his exceptional natural tools and his aggressive nature to lead him to success. That said, there is no player in this draft with a higher ceiling. If Mike Hazen believes his hit tool can be refined enough to play at the MLB level, the sky is the limit on what sort of player Elijah Green could be for the Diamondbacks. A 30 HR/20 SB plus defender in right field that no one dares run on, making the Majors as a 21-year-old is the sort of player franchises are built around.