Los Angeles Angels prospect Elijah Greene has made a surprising jump through the Minors after receiving a call up to Double-A straight from Low-A after his first two months of the 2021 season. Greene spent the first 46 games of the season with the Low-A Inland Empire 66ers, where he has hit .276/.420/.387 with 11 doubles, 42 strikeouts, and 40 walks with one home run. Greene is still a bit deep in his development phase regarding tooling together his swing into a more consistent pattern and he is still in the process of developing physically as well; however, he is displaying incredible talent.
The biggest need for Elijah Greene is more-so physical development than anything, given that this is his first year with the Angels system. As with most players first season, there is more of an importance placed on getting the body and mind right for a full professional season than anything else. He has shown that the bat is there and his plate discipline has been fantastic, there are just a few screws that need to be tightened here and there before Greene can really take off with his development.
Greene spent about a week at Double-A before heading back down to the Low-A 66ers, although so far Greene has performed above and beyond and his position all things considered.
Greene was picked up by the Angels as an undrafted free agent after having his 2020 college season cut short just 34 ABs into his final season. You could say that Greene is still getting his baseball feet back under him after missing a massive chunk of time through no fault of his own. It’s good to see him impressing the Angels brass enough to earn a call straight to Double-A whilst still getting his baseball legs back under him even if it was just to get looks at the higher level, but even then I’m sure that will not be the last time he see’s Double-A this season.
I had the chance to interview Greene about his 2021 season so far – here’s what he had to say!
DD (Diamond Digest): Did you expect to get a callup to Double-A this soon in the season?
Greene: I wasn’t actually, I was a little caught off guard but by the grace of God I got that call and I was happy.
DD: Right before you got called up you were on a 5 game hit streak with the Low A 66ers that saw you tally 11 hits in that span. How different were you feeling during that hit streak compared to the start of the season?
Greene: I was just getting more comfortable with my at-bats and facing the pitchers. I was working with the hitting coach and hitting coordinator tweaking my swings on a consistent basis. My mechanics finally started clicking and the results showed.
DD: How are you feeling with the transition of those things you worked on into facing Double-A hitters?
Greene: Pretty excited actually, everything is about confidence and being smooth with my swing pattern and being consistent.
DD: Are you noticing any immediate differences with how the Double A pitchers approach you as opposed to Low A?
Greene: Just from watching the game it looks like they’re coming right after you. They’re throwing strikes on a consistent basis. They have the ability to throw their off speeds whenever they want.
DD: It’s a pretty big jump going from Low A to Double A, what are some things you’ve found yourself wanting to work on after you initial experience in Double A?
Greene: Just continuing to tweak my swing, get in that comfort level. Also getting some more preparation in the outfield when I’m doing my drills. Just continuing to work on my jumps and reads off of the bat and off the machine during drills.
DD: Speaking on your defense, how are you feeling with your defensive progression moving up to Double A?
Greene: I feel pretty good, like I said before I got to continue working hard and continue making strides defensively and offensively. You can never be satisfied
Low A Stats: .276/.420/.387
1 HR (Inside the Park) 15 RBIS 40 BBs 42 Ks
In terms of skill set and MLB ceiling I would compare Elijah Greene to a Torii Hunter-lite. Once he fills out his physical frame and his natural power comes around he will likely develop into more of a gap shot power hitter who can spray the ball across all sides of the field, and while he won’t be a constant home run threat he will be someone who can threaten for runs and RBIs on a frequent basis. His defense projects to be above-average with Greene able to cover a fair amount of the field in center, though he will likely get moved to left field as he makes his way towards the MLB. He logged just as many innings in at LF as he did in CF with the Low-A 66ers, logging a total 187 innings at CF whilst logging 188 in LF, and so far in Double A he has logged all of his innings in LF (15). We’ll have to see how the season plays out as he develops, but with the Angels current MLB situation of Mike Trout and the depth of Brandon Marsh and Jo Adell at center it would fare better for Greene’s MLB trajectory if he was moved to left-field.
Elijah Greene has quite a few interesting tools in his arsenal that look to be on the forefront of development. His plate discipline is already there, his bat is working its way through, his defense is showing signs of excellence, his speed is burgeoning; as of now we just have to be patient and allow all these tools to develop to the finest degree. Given that Greene is coming out of the college system he shouldn’t take too long to eventual see his way to the Majors, at the earliest we will see him taking swings against big league pitchers late 2022.
College Stats (2020): .269/.332/.309
Outfielder for Low-A Inland Empire 66ers
DD: How are you feeling with your physical development so far?
Greene: I noticed I’m getting stronger and more flexible as the season goes on. I’m just trying to maintain that strength that I had during the offseason and continue the work during the season as well as my flexibility.
DD: And you’re already noticing it compliment your bat skills?
Greene: Yeah 100%. Some of the mechanics of my swing are getting smoother, I’m using less effort during my swing. When you start to force the mechanics it can promote injury. I’m just letting the ball come to me and put a nice swing on it without doing to much with my mechanics. Just trying to keep an open mind with how I can progress.
DD: Where do you see yourself in terms of development by seasons end?
Greene: I don’t know in all honesty. I haven’t thought about it that far. I’m taking it day by day and being grateful that I get to come out to the ballpark and wear a uniform and represent my family and the organization. I’m happy getting to enjoy the scenery while also competing on the field.
DD: How are things with you and your brother? [Isaiah Greene of the Indians] Have you guys been calling each other and getting excited for each others season so far?
Greene: Yeah we talk on a consistent basis, we motivate each other, we push each other to do better. Like I said before, you can’t be satisfied where you’re at, we feed off one another even though we aren’t close in location.
DD: How do you see yourself as a hitter? Where do you see yourself developing in terms of becoming a power guy, or do you see yourself as a contact/ gap power kind of guy?
Greene: I’d say I’m multi-faceted where I can spray the ball around the field but I can hit some gap shots early in the count too. I want to be a tough out when it comes to it. I want to help my team get the victory any way I can.
Elijah Greene is on track to establish himself as one of the more interesting prospects within the Angels system as he continues his current development path. With him being out of college, it is likely that his path to the Majors will be a quicker trip than most despite the complications with the 2020 season shortening. Elijah Greene very much rates as a “high reward, low risk” prospect as he came into the organization as an undrafted free agent while containing the potential of a regular MLB left fielder. His potential ranges from starting left fielder to a 4th outfielder type, it’s just a matter of high close he gets to realizing his ceiling. I do believe that Greene has what it takes to be a mainstay on a major league roster whether it is as a starter or a utility outfielder, however I do lean more towards a starter role given that his plate discipline is strong enough to warrant an everyday appearance in the outfield.
His incredibly balanced BB/K rate will make him a lineup favorite just in terms of plate stability and depending how far his actual bat skills develop he could very well be slugging 20+ doubles and 15+ home runs with a major league squad. The rest of the season will be telling regarding how he develops physically and mentally, but all things considered, I believe Greene has already showed that he has what it takes to develop into the star he is meant to be. Keep an eye out on Greene, he’ll be making his way to a Major League roster sooner rather than later.