Nationals

Nats’ No. 5 pick Green wants to do it all, just like Trout

Nationals
Nationals cap and glove

Using their highest draft selection since taking Bryce Harper with the No. 1 pick in 2010, the Nationals selected high school outfielder Elijah Green fifth overall Sunday night. A product of IMG Academy in Florida, Green has one of the highest ceilings of any player in the 2022 MLB Draft class and he’ll now have the chance to develop into a major leaguer with the Nationals.

The 18-year-old son of former Pro Bowl tight Eric Green was ranked third overall among draft-eligible players by MLB Pipeline and fifth by Baseball America.

“This was always one of the goals of my life,” Green said on a Zoom call with reporters after being drafted. “To be called by the Washington Nationals is truly a blessing. I’m just gonna go out there and work hard and just try to bring a championship back to Washington.”

He’s listed at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds and has high marks for all five tools, most notably his speed. While some strikeout issues may have prevented him from being the top pick, Green brings a unique blend of size and speed to the Nationals’ farm system.

Green spoke highly of the Nationals’ track record of developing other top prospects such as Harper, Trea Turner and Juan Soto, adding that he thought Washington was a “great fit.” When asked which MLB player he compares himself to, he pointed straight to one of the best players in the game.

 

“I kinda compare myself to Mike Trout because I feel like we can kinda do it all the same way,” Green said. “We both go get the baseball…we have good arms, we both hit for power, we hit for contact and all that stuff.”

In Green, the Nationals will hope to develop a key piece for their ongoing rebuild.

The club entered the All-Star Break with the worst record in the majors at 31-63, having shifted its focus toward youth development and restocking the farm system. Last season, the Nationals held the No. 11 pick and drafted shortstop Brady House, a player Green already knows from the prep ranks.

While House was most lauded for his power at the plate, Green is a player with the potential to be a star both in the batter’s box and center field. He feels that he can succeed in all aspects of the game while bringing a leadership presence to the Nationals’ organization that can help them build back into World Series contenders.

“I would describe myself as a competitive guy, always wants to be a professional…always doing the right thing on the field, going to be leader, just a guy who’s always going to bring everybody up in a group and everybody is going to gravitate toward me,” Green said.

“I’m always going to bring joy to the field and I’m always going to play with a smile on my face. Because it’s the game of baseball and it’s supposed to be fun. Just having fun out there is really going to bring us back to winning a championship.”