Position: Right-handed Pitcher
The Tigers made Green their third round pick in the 2008 draft, having him join Ryan Perry, Cody Satterwhite, and the since-traded Brett Jacobson, as a quartet of relievers at the top of the Tigers draft.
The Tigers signed Green for $373,000; just one year after he turned down $800,000 from the Boston Red Sox as a 15th round pick in 2007. Green was assigned two West Michigan to begin his career in 2008, appearing in 15 games for the ‘Caps down the stretch. Over those 15 outings, he piled up 17 2/3 innings of work, allowing just 14 hits and five walks, while striking out 15. Opposing hitters managed just a .219 average against him, and Green picked up the first two saves of his professional career as well.
For the 2009 season, the Tigers made the logical jump with Green, sending him to High-A Lakeland to start the year. Serving as the team's primary closer, Green saw action in 32 games, finishing 28 of them. His 11 saves paced the team in 2009. Green totaled 36 innings for the Flying Tigers, with a 3.25 ERA backed up by 35 strikeouts and a 1.56 WHIP. Green's season ended with a trip to the disabled list in early August.
Green experienced an up and down collegiate career, battling numerous injuries, and missing significant time as a result. He was forced to redshirt during his sophomore season after undergoing surgery on his right elbow; this after posted a 4.85 ERA and three saves for Kentucky as a freshman in 2005.
Green came back to appear in only nine games during the 2007 season, before turning in an impressive performance during the Cape Cod League. In 40 1/3 innings on the Cape, Green posted a 3-1 record, 1.56 ERA and 35 strikeouts, earning high praise from scouts heading into his fourth year at Kentucky.
After such success on the Cape, Green was expected to turn in a strong 2008 season, but he was again bogged down by injuries, seeing action in only 56 2/3 innings, while finishing with a 6-4 record and 4.76 ERA.
Green has shown to be two completely different pitchers over the last few years. He is a dominating force that looks like a sure-fire big leaguer when he is healthy, and he looks like an average prospect with modest big league aspirations when he is not.
Both of those pitchers showed up in 2009, as Green showed outstanding stuff in the first half of the season. His four-seam fastball regularly reached 94-95 on the gun, though he primarily threw what some scouts called a cut fastball that sat at 91-93 with plus-plus movement. Both pitches were difficult to hit and the deception created by his high-effort delivery added to that difficulty as well.
Green also mixes in a slider that flashes as above-average at times, though he lacks consistency with the pitch, and he must learn to stay on top of it in order to generate consistent movement.
Though he is a good athlete, Green struggles to repeat his delivery and throw strikes. Some scouts felt he could repeat his delivery, but that he had missed so much time the last three to four years, that he was far more raw than his experience would suggest.
Green is an aggressive pitcher, though he possesses the intelligence to set hitters up and work all four quadrants of the strike zone to his advantage.
There is little doubting that Green can become a very good big league reliever, but he will have to remain healthy and get back to 92-95 on the gun to achieve that level of success. Prior to being shut down, Green was working routinely at 88-90 with both fastballs, and he was getting hit more as a result.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG A+
After missing significant time during college with Tommy John surgery (2006), and a strained lat muscle (2007), Green was finally healthy throughout the 2008 season, and there was hope that the injury bug had passed him by.
After looking strong and durable during the first half of the 2009 season, Green hit the disabled list during the beginning of August, and later went under the knife to have tears in his labrum repaired. Green's surgery was considered a success, but he still has a long road of recovery ahead.
After season-ending shoulder surgery, Green is likely to miss all of the 2010 season as he completes his recovery and rehab. By the time Green takes the mound in regular season game action again, he will likely be 25-years old, without success above A-ball.
Though the tools are there for Major League success, Green must overcome yet another injury, and get back to working in the mid-90s where his fastball-first approach can be successful. At this point, there is no timetable for Green's arrival in Detroit, and he will have to prove himself all over again once he takes the mound again; likely during the Fall Instructional League next year and then during the 2011 season.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.