The Royals love toolsy prep hitters, and this could be a very good draft at the top for such a profile. One of the high school bats that is expected to go very early in this draft is outfielder Elijah Green out of IMG Academy in Miami. In the latest mock draft at ESPN, Kiley McDaniel writes:
The Royals are always a bit of a wild card as they won’t hesitate to take a swing on tools, or go way under slot, and aren’t afraid to take a high school pitcher high either. Green slides to them in this scenario, even if it’s probably a 10-20% chance he actually gets this far. In the draft, someone always slides for no real reason, and in this mock it sets up to be Green.
The latest mock draft for MLB Pipeline adds, “Green may have the highest ceiling in the Draft, but there’s a sense that he might be sliding.” They write that he “probably falls to No. 9 or lower if he doesn’t fit in the Top 5” and that if he drops, “he could find a home with the Royals.”
Elijah Green is the son of former NFL tight end Eric Green and brings athleticism worthy of the NFL to the baseball field. Standing at 6’3’’ and 225 pounds, Green is ranked the #2 prospect in this draft by Prospect Live, the #3 prospect by MLB Pipeline, #4 by Keith Law, #5 by Baseball America.
The 18-yead-old already has 70-grade power and 70-grade speed according to Baseball America, who writes he “would look right at home standing next to the top sluggers in baseball.” Keith Law writes that he has 30/30 potential as a centerfielder and MLB Pipeline writes he has “proven he can drive the ball to all fields and hit the ball out of the park just about anywhere with at least plus raw power.”
Everyone seems to agree that if there is a flaw in his game, it is that he has some swing-and-miss. MLB Pipeline writes that he “struggled in the past against elevated velocity and there are some concerns about his ability to adjust to offspeed and breaking stuff.” But Baseball America notes he “isn’t a raw hitter without a plan at the plate” and he has faced some of the top high school competition in the country.
Green can absolutely fly around the bases, clocking in with a time of 6.5 in the 60-yard dash. Despite his size, scouts expect him to stick at centerfield, at least early in his MLB career, and he should be able to cover a lot of ground with a plus arm.
Like Bobby Witt Jr., Elijah Green is the son of a former professional athlete and seems to carry himself well with the understanding of expectations that a professional sports career entails. Also like Witt, some feel Green could be a generational player with the ability to make a large impact on a franchise. Because of that, it seems unlikely he would be available when the Royals select at #9. But if he does start to slide, the Royals may find themselves in the catbird seat with the chance to select one of the highest upside players in this draft.