Washington Nationals’ Assistant GM and VP of Scouting Ops Kris Kline was asked after the second night of the 2022 MLB Draft had concluded if he expected to sign all the players the Nats drafted.
“Yes,” he said without hesitation.
“Yes, and they’re all big leaguers,” Mark Baca, the Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting added with a laugh.
“The philosophy is always you take the best player available,” Kline said on the first night of the draft, when asked about the organization’s approach and their decision-making in their selections, “... and if there’s a stumbling block there where the money gets too high, then there are certain times when you have to walk away, but fortunately for us this year, you’re picking at the top and your pool is large, so when you take a chance to take a guy like Elijah [Green] there, that’s a very good thing.”
Green, 18, was the Nationals’ first round pick, No. 5 overall. He went 36 for 78 (.462 AVG) as as a senior at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL this season, with 11 doubles, nine homers, 15 stolen bases, 21 walks, 21 strikeouts, and 40 runs scored.
“The skill set is obvious,” Kline said of the club’s highest pick since they drafted Anthony Rendon at No. 6 overall in 2011, after describing Green as a, “... big strong, physical kid.
“Big tools. Tremendous frame ... well above-average runner, above-average arm. Some of the best raw power in the draft.”
“The thing that he’s going to have to learn how to do,” Kline added, “... which a lot of young hitters have to do, is patience, and have a plan when you get in the box. Adjusting to the spin of a breaking ball, recognizing offspeed. This guy can hit a fastball. And you can hit a fastball, you’re going to play in the big leagues. So, the little things as he goes through the system, he will have to adjust to the league, and they will adjust to him. And it’s going to be a thing that he has to do over the course of his career, but that would be my thing that he needs to continue to work on.”
Green, for his part, was thrilled with where he landed in the draft.
“It was definitely truly a blessing, because all my life I’ve been working for this goal, this has always been one of my goals in my life,” he said.
“And to be called by the Washington Nationals is truly a blessing. I’m going to go up there, work hard, and just try to bring a championship back to Washington.”
The No. 5 overall pick in this year’s draft had a slot value of $6.5M.
There was no reporting last night on how much Green got, but the Nationals did announced he’d signed with the club, and will be in D.C. to make it all official later this month.
No. 5 overall selection Elijah Green is officially a member of the Washington Nationals.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 22, 2022
He will be visiting @NationalsPark Friday, July 29 to celebrate his signing and enjoy the game with his family.#NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/8k8cXFrrkV
Green wasn’t the only one to sign on the dotted line:
Cont.— Nationals Player Development (@Nats_PlayerDev) July 22, 2022
5th Rd. – Jared McKenzie – OF – Baylor
6th Rd. – Nate Ochoa – SS – Notre Dame Catholic SS (Ontario, Canada)
8th Rd. – Chance Huff – RHP – Georgia Tech pic.twitter.com/gV0jbjeSaP