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Washington Nationals top pick Elijah Green off to electric start in rookie ball

Elijah Green
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

When the Washington Nationals made outfielder Elijah Green the fifth overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, they had hopes he would someday develop into a star, and with a little luck, maybe even a superstar. It’s been just over a month since the team selected Green, signing him to a contract just a tick above slot level shortly after.

The 18-year-old prospect has since joined the team’s rookie league crew, the FCL Nationals in the Florida Complex League. He’s played just 12 games, but it’s what he’s done in his first bit of action that has many baseball observers excited about his future potential.

  • Elijah Green stats in 2022: .302/.404/.535, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB

It’s not just that Green has been putting up impressive stats. It’s the manner in which he’s making contact that is impressive for a young, inexperienced player fresh out of high school at the IMG Academy.

Elijah Green already impressing many baseball analysts

Here’s what Nathan Graham of Baseball Prospectus has to say about how Green’s been living up to the hype but also battling some of the weaknesses that held the prospect back in the pre-draft process.

“Immense power and swing-and-miss concerns were both part of the scouting report on Green prior to being drafted fifth overall last month. So far both attributes have been on display in the complex league, with his slugging percentage at .535 and strikeout rate north of 40%. He’s still getting his feet wet in the professional ranks, but the loud tools make him one of the most exciting prospects in the organization.”

Nathan Graham of Baseball Prospectus on Elijah Green’s MiLB start

Green is ranked as the third-best prospect in the Nats’ organization but the 29th prospect in all of baseball according to the MLB top-100. They currently project him to make his major league debut by 2026, but if his early performance is any indication of future success, Green can beat those projections, likely by a year or two if he can stay healthy.

We’ll see where the Nationals place Green in their farm system once the 2023 baseball season gets underway. He could be a fast mover within the system, but he’ll have to work on those strikeout rates in the meantime. Still, Green’s early production has been a positive development.

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