A's Select USC SS Grant Green in First RoundCome draft day, Billy Beane is always put under the microscope. Baseball experts are always wondering who the next big player to come through the Oakland A's system will be. With one simple pick, Beane answered that question.
With the 13th pick of the 2009 amateur draft yesterday, the Oakland Athletics selected University of Southern California shortstop, Grant Green. The move could pay off huge dividends for Oakland in the near future.
Regarded by many as the best shortstop in the draft, Green was once viewed as a top 3 selection and the best position player in college baseball. At 6'3 and 180 pounds, many think Green could be a 5-tool player in the major leagues and their are many comparisons to current major leaguers Evan Longoria and Troy Tulowitzki.
Green hit .390 with 9 home runs and 46 RBI in 205 at bats as a sophomore for USC in 2008 making scouts take notice. The following summer, he entered the Cape Cod wooden bat league where Green would hit .348 with 6 home runs, 21 RBI, 28 walks, and succesfully stole 10 bags in 13 attempts. He also slugged .547 which helped him earn the Robert A. McNeece Outstanding Pro Prosect Award.
Grant's ability to hit that well in a wooden bat league with that much power caught the eye of many scouts. However, Grant's slow start to his junior season both at the plate and on defense at USC caused his stock to drop in the draft this year.
"At the very beginning I did terrible with it, and I suffered," he said. "I wasn't trusting my teammates or myself. Once I started trusting, my play started going up and up, and I started hitting the way I can. From that, I kind of learned how to have that pressure on me."
Green was able to rebound as he finished the season hitting .374 with four home runs, 32 RBI and led the team with 16 stolen bases. However, the early damage had been done. Green's drop in power and his 18 errors made scouts start to question whether or not he was as good as first billed.
The A's seem confident though.
"I'm not in the scouting department, but I know people who have seen him play," said A's manager Bob Geren. "I know our front office is excited, and so am I. He's a big, physical shortstop with athletic ability. That's what you want."
Green is represented by agent Scott Boras, who also represents Oakland left fielder Matt Holliday. Known for being able to get big contracts. However, the A's don't seem too concerned about not being able to sign the young shortstop by the August 17th deadline.
Meanwhile, Green is just excited to be playing the game.
"I consider myself a baseball player first," Green said. "I'm not gonna be one of those prima donna-type players I'm going to go out play hard, get dirty and play the game the way it's supposed to be played."
If he does, Oakland could have something special in a few years.