Zach Green has been one of the breakout prospects so far this year. On the surface it is for good reason as he is tied for the NYPL lead in HRs, has a sizeable lead in SLG, and is 5th overall in OPS. The problem is that while his power has shown up in a big way and the walk rate has improved from 4.4% to 8.8%, his strikeout rate has ballooned from 23.5% to 29%. This leaves a conundrum, on one hand the 19 year old Green is pushing for a spot in the upper echelon of Phillies prospects, and on the other you are wondering if he is going to make it out of A ball. The truth is somewhere in between and what you are left with after walking through the tool set is the potential for a very solid prospect that has a lot of development left to do if he wants to near that ceiling.
Hitting: Green’s ability to make contact is the biggest outstanding question about him. The swing has gotten shorter since the GCL, but it has a tendency to lengthen at time. He generates good backspin and loft without selling out for plane. The bat speed is average and there a questions about how it will hold up against plus plus velocity, but it shouldn’t be a fatal flaw. His approach isn’t terrible, but he has big problems with breaking balls. Additionally, he is really streaky at the plate so he will go through stretches where he is more susceptible to breaking pitches. The good news is that he has gotten much better but it is something he will need to improve on to get past the high minors. Given all of the questions it is hard to see the hit tool playing anything more than average.
Power: Green has at least plus power, that is generated from strong forearms and overall strength in the frame. His raw power is less than Larry Greene and Dylan Cozens but he has transitioned it well into his in-game swing. Green’s hit tool should let the power play enough to hit 25-30HRs during his peak if he can solve his issues against breaking pitches.
Speed: Green is already a below average runner and is likely only going to get slower over time. This is not really that big a deal as he shouldn’t be a base clogger. However, he is not going to be adding much in the running game nor will he be picking up a bunch of extra bases.
Glove: Green was a SS in HS and the hands are soft and the actions are pretty good at third. The footwork could use some cleaning up that should improve with more reps. He also does not get great reads off the bat, but that is something to monitor if it does not improve by the time he reaches the upper minors.
Arm: Green’s arm is plus from third and the accuracy is pretty good. There are still improvements to be made but it will definitely play at third base.
Overall: Green is a very interesting prospect, but a lot of the projection comes down to the hit tool. If he can learn to handle breaking balls and clean up the defense he is a first division regular with a middle of the lineup bat and close to plus defense at third base. However, the risk is high because if he can’t cut down on the strikeouts and deal with breaking pitches he is not going to make it past AA. All this points to a player who is going to need time to really work on consistency and repetition, and will likely not be a quick mover through the system. But he has made huge strides since signing and there is no pressure to come up and fill a need soon.