Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Kentucky's Scott Green was drafted for the second year in a row, this time by the Tigers in the third round of the draft. In 2007, the Red Sox made Green a 15th round choice and offered him $800,000 to sign, but he opted to head back to the Wildcats and try to improve his stock to first round status. Prior to being selected by the Sox, Green appeared in only nine games for Kentucky, as he dealt with several minor injuries, and totaled just 17 2/3 innings with 20 strikeouts. Green's performance on the Cape earned him his high bonus offer from the Sox, as he was 3-1 with a 1.56 ERA in 40 1/3 innings of work.
In 2008, people were expecting big things from Green, as he was named to the Preseason All-SEC 1st Team, Wallace Award watch list, and Golden Spikes Player of the Year watch list. Green struggled as a starter this year, being relegated to the bullpen and finishing the season with a 4.76 ERA in 55 2/3 innings. He struck out 64 against just 16 walks, and yielded only four home runs. Scott's six wins tied him for second on the team.
Green was forced to redshirt during the 2006 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery to repair a torn elbow ligament. As a freshman in 2005, he worked mostly as a reliever, picking up three saves and a 2-4 record in 42 2/3 innings. Prior to Kentucky, Scott was a Louisville Slugger 1st Team All-American at Louisville Male High School, and was runner up for Kentucky's Mr. Baseball award. During both his junior and senior high school campaigns, he earned All-State, All-Region, and All-District honors. Green could have gone as high as the fifth round in 2004 had he not been strongly committed to Kentucky.
The Tigers assigned Green to West Michigan of the Midwest League for his first pro experience upon signing, and he worked fifteen games in relief for the Whitecaps. Over 17 2/3 innings, Green struck out 15 and walked only five, while finishing with an ERA of 3.57 and a 1-2 record.
Green is a good athlete, having played basketball in high school, and he has been able to repeat his mechanics fairly well in the past. Since injuries have struck, he's had a harder time repeating his ¾ arm slot. His delivery creates some deception and lends to good boring action in on right-handers. As he's gotten further away from surgery, his fastball has come back to its previous 90-93 and touching 95 mph on occasion.
Scott has a plus slider that he throws at 79-83 mph, with good spin and resulting depth. When he doesn't keep his arm angle up, the slider can flatten out and become very hittable. He has also shown the makings of an interesting change-up, but has yet to gain consistency with it. Green has outstanding makeup and poise on the mound that will allow him to succeed in any pitching role. His biggest obstacle will be his ability to throw quality strikes. He has a propensity throw too many balls in the middle of the zone, rather than moving the ball around and placing it with more precision.
The Tigers view Green as a reliever long term and believe he could be a dominating late inning arm. If he can quickly harness his command within the zone, he could excel and move quickly through the system. His demeanor lends better to a setup role than as a stopper.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG A
Green has battled injuries quite a bit the last three years. His prior Tommy John surgery appears to be behind him, as his velocity and slider have both come back. The more minor injuries that plagued him in 2007 re-surfaced a bit during the fall Instructional League. He was back on the hill late in the fall and he should be ready to go to start the 2009 season.
The Tigers are likely to send Green to Lakeland to start the 2009 season, and I doubt they would hesitate to push him to Erie if he succeeds early on. He doesn't have the pure ceiling of his fellow 2008 draft choices Ryan Perry, Cody Satterwhite, Brett Jacobson, but he does have enough stuff to be a critical reliever. Of the three, he may be the most likely to move back to the rotation, at least in the short term. Don't expect Green to hit Detroit as quickly as the other three, but he has a chance to be there by the end of 2010 if things go smoothly.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.