Finding a Role for Grant Green

By David Hill

Sep 8, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels second baseman Grant Green (10) scores a run against the Texas Rangers during the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Grant Green was one a first round pick for the Oakland A’s, taken with the 13th overall selection in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft. Green, drafted as a shortstop, was rated as high as being the 52nd best prospect in baseball prior to the 2010 season by Baseball America, perhaps based on his draft position as much as any potential skills he would have had.Yet, he still displayed an ability to hit for average, hovering around the .300 mark, and had a bit of a power stroke, typically hitting double figures in home runs. It seemed that while Green may not be a stellar player, he would likely hit enough to be serviceable in the majors.

However, even back when he was drafted, there were questions about where Green would play. His footwork and throwing arm were considered to be suspect enough where he would need to be moved from short, which eventually happened. The A’s moved him to center, which, according to reports, he was a disaster. Green then moved to left before heading to third and second base before being sent to the Angels in exchange for Alberto Callaspo.

When Howie Kendrick was injured, Grant Green filled in, producing a solid .280/.336/.384 batting line in his 40 games with the Angels. That production, coupled with his minor league numbers, would seemingly indicate that he would have a major league future.

The problem is, that much like during his minor league career, there is the question of where to play Green. Kendrick is back, blocking off second. David Freese was acquired to play third, and with Erick Aybar at short, there just does not appear to be a spot for him in the lineup.

Since he played at five different positions in the minors as the A’s attempted to find a permanent position for him, it is possible that Grant Green could become the Angels utility player. It appears as though he has the bat to remain in the majors. The only question is whether or not his ability to hit will offset his defensive limitations. Can Green produce enough runs to make up for the ones that he could potentially give away?

As the Angels are lacking a true utility player on the roster, it would seem as though Grant Green may have a good chance at making the roster. It may only be a matter of whether or not he can perform well enough defensively to justify putting him in the lineup three or four times a week.