Publish Date: 07/18/2022
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
On Sunday, July 17, 2022, the Washington Nationals selected Florida prep outfielder, Elijah Green fifth overall in the Major League Baseball amateur draft. Green was the second outfielder selected, after Druw Jones, who was selected second overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 18-year-old is the son of former NFL tight end and Pro Bowler Eric Green. Check out the best bookmakers for betting on Baseball!
The right-handed outfielder attended Florida’s IMG Academy. He stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 225 pounds, and he possesses exceptional power, speed, and arm strength, putting him in line to be the first overall pick in 2021.
Despite hitting.462/.592/1.000 in 25 high school games this season, the young Green had some concerning swing-and-miss rates while playing for IMG Academy in Florida the previous two springs. Green’s strikeout issues may have kept him from being selected first overall, but he can provide the Nationals with a unique blend of size and speed.
The outfielder described being drafted by the Nationals as “truly a blessing” during his virtual press conference following his selection. He also lauded the Nationals’ track record of developing top prospects like Harper, Trea Turner, and Juan Soto, calling Washington a “great fit.” When asked whom he compares himself to in Major League Baseball, he immediately named Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout.
“I kinda compare myself to Mike Trout because I feel like we can kinda do it all the same way,” The 6-foot-3 player said confidently. “We both go get the baseball…we have good arms, we both hit for power, we hit for contact and all that stuff.” he continued.
Green “may have the highest ceiling of any prospect in this year’s draft,” according to MLB.com, referencing his senior season at IMG Academy in Florida, where he hit.462 with nine home runs, 32 RBIs, and 40 runs scored in 25 games. He was named high school athlete of the year at the inaugural ABIS Champions & Legends Awards in Las Vegas in May.
With this young prospect, the Nationals hope to develop a key piece for their ongoing rebuilding. After shifting its focus to youth development and restocking the farm system, the team entered the All-Star break with the worst record in the majors, 31-63. Last season, the Nationals selected shortstop Brady House with the No. 11 pick, a player Green knew from his prep days.
Elijah’s father, Eric, possessed an unusual combination of size, speed, and soft hands. In Pittsburgh’s offense, the 6-foot-5, 280-pound Liberty University product was bigger than the offensive tackle he lined up alongside. When asked about his son’s professional path, Eric stated that Elijah has always been at his most powerful when attempting to silence those who refuse to believe him.
“All he heard leading into the spring season was, ‘He’s swing and miss, swing and miss,’” The older Green recounted. “He was befuddled because he said, ‘Dad, I just led Team USA in home runs, total bases, slugging percentage, in everything. But I’m just swing and miss.’ ” The 55-year-old Green repeated what his son had said.
The senior Green then continued the story, “So he said, ‘Well, I’m gonna show them,’ and that’s when he went out and hit .462 and did what he did, and I can respect that. That’s Elijah.” Eric Green said proudly.
Eric was in charge of Elijah’s training before he left for IMG. Because Eric had firsthand knowledge of what it took to be a professional athlete, the training was goal-oriented and highlighted the importance of discipline.