Nationals’ Elijah Green Earns High Praise

With his combination of power and speed, 19-year-old center fielder Elijah Green has as high of a ceiling as anyone in the Nationals’ organization.

Green, the son of 10-year NFL tight end Eric Green, was the fifth pick in the 2022 draft out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He signed for $6.5 million and then showed off his talents in the Florida Complex League.

Green hit .302/.404/.535 in 12 games, posting the highest OPS among 18-year-olds with 50 or more plate appearances. 

“The skill set is pretty remarkable in itself,” Nationals farm director De Jon Watson said.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Green has plus power, speed and arm strength along with above-average fielding ability. In an organization with three Top 100 Prospects who can all play center field—Green, James Wood and Robert Hassell III—he might have the best chance of sticking in the middle of the field.

But there is a lot of development that must come first, particularly after he struck out 40% of the time last summer.

Green was off to a good start at the organization’s early minor league camp in West Palm Beach, where he was among 54 invitees. The workouts were similar to those that would have been in the back half of instructional league last fall, which was cut short because of Hurricane Ian.

If all continues to go well for Green in spring training, he’ll likely start the season at Low-A Fredericksburg.

“Defensively, he has the pure speed, but he’s working on everything that goes into playing the outfield,” Watson said. “He’s had a really busy winter and hasn’t slowed down at all. He’s moving great, and hopefully he can make that club out of camp.”

The righthanded Green drives the ball to all fields. Twelve days after the draft, he hit several balls into the Nationals Park seats during a pre-game batting session with Washington players.

Green played some football as a youngster, but baseball has long been his passion.

“I’m just going to keep my head down, work hard every day, and whenever I get my time, I get my time,” he said on draft night.



— Robert Hassell III, acquired in the 2022 Juan Soto deal, was also at the Nationals’ early minor league camp. He’s back at full strength after needing hand surgery in October. Watson said Hassell is focusing on using the whole field and handling the strike zone.

— Hassell will likely return to Double-A Harrisburg, where the team has a new manager in Delino DeShields. A first-round pick of the Montreal Expos in 1987, DeShields stole 463 bases over a 13-year major league career. He had worked in the Reds organization for the past 14 years, including eight as a minor league manager and four as a major league coach.

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