Angels’ Spring Training Battles: Second Base

By Brian Helberg
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The Underdog: Grant Green

Originally selected by the Oakland A’s in the first round of the 2009 draft, the Angels acquired Grant Green in 2013 from the Athletics. After starring at Canyon High School in Anaheim, Grant Green has proven himself to be a very valuable member of his hometown squad over the past two seasons. Green put together mediocre numbers through 40 games in 2014, batting .273, with 1 home run, and 11 runs batted in. His 2014 walk rate of 1.9% can only be described as disturbing. Green has posted a slash line of .259/.293/.347 across 239 career at bats in the Major Leagues. He has not flashed much speed with the Angels, having stolen just 1 base during his first two seasons. The 6’3, 180 lb. second baseman’s minor league numbers suggest he could develop into a quality offensive contributor. Green has a slash line of .313/.360/.482 over parts of three seasons in triple-A.

Sep 7, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler (5) is out as Los Angeles Angels second baseman Grant Green (10) completes a double play in the third inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The 27-year-old is a very versatile defender, having played five different positions last season in the big A. However, Grant Green has failed to impress at second base during his brief career. The league average for range factor per 9 innings over the past two seasons is 4.64; Green has posted a meager 4.30 career range factor per 9 innings. However, in limited action at second in 2014, Green recorded a 5.33 range factor per 9 innings, blowing away the league average of 4.62. His career .980 fielding percentage at second base falls short of the .985 league average. Again, Green was much improved defensively in 2014, posting a 1.000 fielding percentage across 50.2 innings at second base.

The Angels could have anointed Grant Green as the everyday second baseman following the Kendrick trade, but Dipoto showed little faith in the 27-year-old, choosing instead to acquire three more infielders to compete for the job. FanGraphs has low expectations for Green in 2015, as they have projected him to hit just .256, with 3 home runs, 18 RBI’s, and tally just 0.4 wins above replacement across 44 games. I believe the Angels’ brass believe Green may be best suited to function in the utility role this summer in Anaheim. It will take a strong performance this spring for Green to emerge from Tempe with the starting job at second base.

Next: The Long Shot