Baseball has quite a way with romantics, and there isn’t much romance greater than the hometown kid getting to play for the hometown team. Outfielder Elijah Greene was signed by the Los Angeles Angels as an undrafted free agent in 2020 out of Southern California and has been living that story since.
The cancellation of the 2020 baseball season across college presented an unfortunate roadblock for a lot of hopeful athletes out there, but Elijah Greene still managed to persevere through unforeseeable circumstances and find himself within the ranks of a professional baseball club. Greene may very well be one of the luckiest ball players within the MiLB right now; not only has he worked for and earned the chance to live his own dream of professional baseball, but he also gets to see his younger brother Isaiah Greene do the same. Elijah and Isaiah both made their way into the beginning stages of an MLB career in 2020 with Elijah going to the Angels out of college and his brother Isaiah going to the Mets out of high school. Though the brothers were separated in the draft it seems to be only a matter of time until they reunite in the Major Leagues, either as opponents or on the same side of the field, but the only way either Greene can get there is through relentless hard work and endless determination. Luckily for Angel fans Elijah, and for Mets fans Isaiah, both have that in spades.
The left-handed-hitting Elijah Greene came into the Angels organization out of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, as an undrafted free agent after compiling 289 total PA’s across two seasons with the school. Across those two seasons, Elijah established himself as a solid hitter with good vision at the plate, in his 2019 season he walked 22 total times with only 33 strikeouts. Hitters who can limit strikeouts while walking at a consistent pace, like Elijah Greene, have a special value in this modern world of baseball that is more than happy to overlook a high K rate if it comes with big power numbers.
There is a lot of room for growth with Elijah and by season’s end it should be clearer which of his tools are at the developmental forefront, but with that being said it’s good to see that his vision is as present as it is. There is some raw gap-to-gap power to be channeled within the young outfielder that can blossom into an average to above-average tool with some physical development. As of now, Greene is listed at 5’11, 165 lbs so there is still some muscle to be built but that will come along naturally as he progresses along his first professional season. Given that his plate vision is a natural strength once his power comes into form it should transition smoothly into bat success.
I was lucky enough to get to interview Elijah Greene as he shared his story and explained what it’s like to be a member of a professional organization.
You started off the 2021 season, which is also your first professional season, with a six-game hit streak. How’s your comfort in the box so far?
I’m feeling pretty confident right now, I’m getting a lot of help from my other teammates. We’re communicating a lot about things like what we’re seeing out of the box. Talking with our hitting coach and manager about our game plan for the night, things like that really end up paying off as a whole.
What are the immediate differences that you’re noticing between the college competition and the Low A competition?
I would say the immediate difference is the pitchers intent with trying to get hitters out. The way they establish their fastball early and work to finish off hitters with the off-speed. The difference in how they establish AB’s is noticeable from day one.
What are your immediate developmental focuses now that you’re playing in a much higher level of competition than what you were at last year?
I’m working on having all my movements go towards the pitcher, really just letting my swing do the work and let the hard contact come. Just doing my best not to overswing.
What are your goals for the 2021 season?
Being consistent on and off the field, building relationships with the coaches as well as my teammates, really just being a part of the team and understanding the environment.
How did it feel to be taken in the same year as your brother Isaiah, who was selected by the Mets in the 2020 draft? It must be special playing professional sports with your brother.
It was pretty crazy, we always had the dream of being brothers playing in the Minor Leagues and eventually the Majors. It wasn’t a surprise to us but when it actually happened we were just grateful. We’ve been grateful from the start and pretty surprised to see our dreams coming to life.
That must be a great feeling especially with you being drafted by the hometown team. Did you grow up an Angels fan?
Actually no but it’s a bit of a funny story. I was a Mets fan growing up and my little brother was an Angels fan. It’s funny how we both signed with each other’s favorite team. I was pretty proud to see my little brother grow up. Seeing the transition he’s made developing into a baseball player from high school to pro ball now.
I’m sure he feels the same way about you. Your parents must be really proud, how were they feeling with you two being picked up by MLB organizations in the same year?
They we’re as excited as you can get. We’re a close knit family. Between us brothers there is always that competition within us but most importantly we do our best to push each other beyond our own expectations for ourselves. We do what we can to give each other advice on and off the field. It would be ideal to go up against each other in the Majors one day.
It takes more than talent to succeed in baseball, it requires a dynamic spirit in order to find that ultimate MLB success, and Elijah Greene more than certainly has that spirit. The fact that Elijah Greene has already made it to where he is now with the path he’s had to go through shows the mental and physical dynamics are there for the young professional.
At best I can see Greene maxing out as a smaller Torii Hunter type; a nice contact bat with a balanced BB/K rate who can flash doubles power with the occasional home run as well as a talented outfield glove with team-leader type energy. Keep an eye on Elijah Greene – there is definitely something real to him and those qualities that make him so will become more obvious as his development rolls on.
MLB ETA: 2023
The entire Diamond Digest community thanks Elijah for the time he took for this interview, and we wish him nothing but success moving forward with the Angels!