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Citizens pick Elijah Green 5th overall in MLB draft

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WASHINGTON. With the highest pick in the MLB draft since 2010, the Nationals selected 18-year-old outfielder Elijah Green fifth overall on Sunday night.

Green, who was ranked 3rd overall in the MLB.com Draft, hit .462 with 1.592 pps, nine home runs, 32 RBIs and 40 runs scored in 25 games of his senior season at the IMG Academy in Florida.

“When you get a person like this and this skill set like we do, we are all thrilled,” said Nationals Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Scouting Operations Chris Kline. “This guy could be a powerful superstar.”

The Greens may have the best ceiling of any prospect in this year’s draft. Despite his age, Green, the son of former NFL Pro Bowl tight end Eric Green, is already 6ft 3in and 225lbs, with strength and speed to match his large build. Green’s selection makes him the first son of a former NFL first-round player to be selected in the first round of the MLB Draft.

“That has always been one of the goals of my life,” Greene said by Zoom phone. “Being called by the Washington Nationals is a real blessing. I’m going to go there, work hard and hopefully bring the championship back to Washington.”

Along with boasting incredible strength, Green has also proven he can handle the ball on all pitches. The MLB Pipeline awarded him a 50 hit score and a 60 on the traditional scouting scale of 20-80.

With a profile like that, it’s no wonder what players Green looks up to.

“Whenever I watch a Yankees game with Aaron Judge or a game with Mike Trout, I keep a close eye on them,” Green previously told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. “They play the same position as me, we’re all big, strong guys who can do anything in a baseball game, so I sort of modeled my game on them.”

However, Green is not only on offense. MLB Pipeline gave him a speed of 70, and IMG recorded a 5.99-second laser-timed 60-yard dash. That speed should also help him on the pitch, as he acts as a next-level center fielder despite his larger build.

“He’s strong,” said Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Baca. “When you see him up close, you don’t think he can run like that. … Size, strength, speed – he has a chance to do a lot in this game.”

Even if Green ends up becoming a corner outfielder later in his career (he has a 60 rating), he has already been registered throwing 95 mph from the outfield.

“Elijah has a chance to be a Major League-level five-tool package,” Kline said. “When I say five tools, I mean five above average tools at the major league level.”

Green, who now plays a key role in the future of the national teams, is also familiar with their history. Their best pick since Bryce Harper 12 years ago, he highlighted promising players who have become stars who have developed in the Washington system.

“Only [track record] of them there are prospects like Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Juan Soto, it just shows that they know what they are doing with their players,” he said. “I just feel like I could be one of those players who will be in MLB soon.”

Green will have company on his way to the big leagues. He already knows Nationals No. 2 prospect — and their 2021 first overall pick — Brady House and No. 26 prospect TJ White.

“They have been doing this for a year now, so I feel like I can always go to them for anything and it will be convenient,” he said.

Vice versa. Green was praised by the Nats for his maturity, work ethic, professionalism, and camaraderie.

“My lead, guys will gravitate towards me,” he said. “I will always bring joy to the field and will always play with a smile on my face. Because it’s a baseball game and it’s supposed to be fun. If we just have fun, it will really take us back to winning the championship.”

The Nationals had two picks on the first day of the draft and selected left-hander Jake Bennet of the University of Oklahoma with the 45th overall pick. as the No. 68 prospect on the MLB Pipeline. In 2022 (his redshirt sophomore season), he went 10–4 with a 3.69 ERA in 20 games (19 starts). Bennett has an overall scout rating of 50 (quickball 50, slider 50, shift 60, control 55) and was noted by the Nats for “repetitive play”.

‘His fastball to 96 [mph], he will live to about 93 years old, a good life in the zone,” Kline said. “Changeup is his calling card. He has an average to solid average Major League slider that he needs to keep developing. There are times when it’s really good, but he needs to learn to take responsibility for each of them.”

Bennett is also no stranger to the organization, having previously been drafted by Washington in the 39th round in 2019. He chose to attend college, where he was a teammate with two 2020 Nationals picks, right-hander Cade Cavalli and catcher Brady Lindsley. . He also attended Bixby High School along with Cavalli, the number one prospect in the Nats.

“He was someone I always looked up to, someone who kind of showed me the ropes,” Bennett said of Cavalli. “I’m just really happy to be able to look at him again when I’m going through a professional ball.”

The Nationals’ total bonus pool this year is $11,007,900. The assigned value of the bonus slot for pick #5 is $6,494,300.

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