Going With Green

Shortstop Grant Green falls to A's at 13 after uneven year

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OAKLAND—By the time Grant Green left Cape Cod last summer, he was considered that summer league's top prospect, and he seemed destined to land in the top two or three picks of this year's draft.

A month into the college season for Southern California, folks were questioning whether he would be able to remain at shortstop and wondering why his power had disappeared. He had suddenly gone from five-tool favorite to seriously suspect.
This could get interesting. Grant Green entered the spring No. 2 on many boards, so while he may cost a lot at 13th overall, he may also be worth it. First-round talent C Max Stassi fell to Oakland in the fourth round, which essentially makes up for the lack of a second-rounder, while RHP Sam Dyson (10th) might be a tough sign as a redshirt sophomore but has similar top-round talent.

Green made distinct improvement as the season continued, both on defense and offense. He finished the year at a team-leading .374 with four home runs among his 28 extra-base hits. The Athletics expect to keep him at shortstop after taking him with the 13th overall pick in the draft.

"We obviously think he can (stay at short)," scouting director Eric Kubota said. "He played short for three years at USC and two years in the Cape."

Green has no doubt he can remain at short. "I know I can," Green said during his post-draft conference call with the Bay Area media. "I'm sure a lot of them (his doubters) saw how I played at the beginning of the season and they took it from that point of view instead of the end of the season."

Kubota did offer one caution. "He probably wasn't throwing as well this year as he did last year." However, Kubota did not speculate on why there was a difference.

His big show came in the summer of 2008, when he hit .348 with six homers in the wood-bat Cape League, earning him the ranking of the league's top prospect. This followed a big sophomore year at USC, when hit .390 with nine homers.

He returned to college as one of the most heralded prospects in the country. But the only problem was, he came down with a severe case of the disease draftitis.

"At the very beginning, I did terrible with it," he said. "I wasn't trusting my teammates. Once I started to trust them, my play started going up and up. I kind of learned how to have that pressure on me and take the season as it goes."

So after beginning in a slump, with both bat and glove, Green made continual advancement as the year proceeded. However, the power never returned. While he may have fallen from the top three in the draft, he had not dropped out of the first half.

Moments after he heard his name announced, Green and some friends ran off to the store to purchase Athletics caps and gear, before returning home to the small gathering of family and friends. "I was extremely stoked. This is a great organization, and I'm just glad to be with a great organization like the Athletics."

Agent Scott Boras serves as adviser to Green, so the A's could be facing intense negotiations. Green would not tip his hand. He said that all discussions had been done between his father Gregg and Boras, so he did not know what financial figures would be involved.

"We haven't talked at all about the whole business aspect of it," Green said. "My family has kept me out of the loop, and rightfully so. I'm just excited about being drafted by an outstanding organization."

As for the A's, Kubota approached the subject with caution. "We think Grant is ready to get his professional career under way, and we're ready to make it happen."

There had been rumors that the A's were specifically targeting Green, but Kubota said that there were several players who were under consideration. "I think those started because (general manager) Billy (Beane) came to a game at Cal," Kubota said. "We considered a lot of guys, and he was one of them."

And he is the one who brings with him the most mysteries: Can he stay at short? Was his Cape Cod magic a fluke? Will the arm strength return?

The A's cannot until Green begins answering these questions.


• Area scout J.T. Stotts watched over Green and convinced the A's they would be making the right call by drafting the shortstop.

• Oakland did not have a second-round pick, but in the third round they A's selected lefthander Justin Marks from Louisville. Kubota called him "a four-pitch premium college lefthander." He said his scouts had seen Marks hit 92 during the season.