Pittsburgh Pirates Draft: Elijah Green vs Druw Jones

DENVER, CO - JULY 10: Elijah Green participates in the Major League Baseball All-Star High School Home Run Derby Finals at Coors Field on July 10, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matt Dirksen/Colorado Rockies/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 10: Elijah Green participates in the Major League Baseball All-Star High School Home Run Derby Finals at Coors Field on July 10, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matt Dirksen/Colorado Rockies/Getty Images) /
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DENVER, CO – JULY 10: Elijah Green participates in the Major League Baseball All-Star High School Home Run Derby at Coors Field on July 10, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Kyle Cooper/Colorado Rockies/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO – JULY 10: Elijah Green participates in the Major League Baseball All-Star High School Home Run Derby at Coors Field on July 10, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Kyle Cooper/Colorado Rockies/Getty Images) /

Elijah Green

Green is arguably the best power hitter in this year’s draft, which will make him enticing to the Pittsburgh Pirates and all of baseball. According to FanGraphs, his raw power is already sitting at a 70-grade. By the time he’s developed, he’ll easily reach an 80-grade. Not only is he extremely powerful, but he’s extremely fast. He’s a 70-grade runner, making him a guy who could conceivably be a 40/40 member in the future.

That speed gives him extremely good range in the outfield. He’s a great defender in center field and has a strong arm to boot. He easily has the tools to remain in center field long-term. Okay, Green is a potential 40/40 guy and future Gold Glove winner. What’s the catch?

He strikes out a ton, or at least he did. In 2021, he had more swings and misses than balls put in play. That led to massive questions going into 2022 if he’d ever make enough contact to make that 80-grade power work. But things are looking up for Green.

So far this season, he’s cut his strikeout rate from over a third to under 20%, at 17.8%. His last 32+ plate appearances have resulted in just two strikeouts. He’s also walking a ton and has an OPS over 1.500. Heck, he has a slugging percentage over 1.000. Small sample size caveats aside, but you can’t help but be impressed by his massive change in approach.

There’s a reason many evaluators highly tout Green. The absolute mix of raw athleticism and power has the makings of a star player. He arguably has the highest ceiling in the draft but some of the most risk. But he is reducing the risk this season.

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