Nick Green

Green’s Major League career depends upon his ability to play shortstop, because he doesn’t have the bat for any other position. He was hitting .377 in Richmond, and immediately after his callup, it looked like he might hit on the major league level, but soon enough he deteriorated to the level of his previous minor league seasons.

MAY .304 .391 .446
JUN .272 .321 .359
JUL .283 .277 .435
AUG .296 .296 .407
SEP .222 .222 .333
SEA .273 .312 .386

That July line is not a misprint; he actually had a lower OBP than BA because he had a sac fly but no walks. In fact, he didn’t draw a walk after June 16. Some of that is due to irregular usage, but he was swinging at everything. His strikeout rate was pretty constant… If you hit above your head at first, you can live off that for some time until the real you surfaces. Green fed off what he did in May for months before the stats evened out.

There’s little use for a guy with a 700 OPS unless he’s a first-class defender. David Pinto really likes Green’s defense at second base, rating it better than Giles’, or any 2B other than Chase Utley. I don’t agree, but it was good. Good enough to survive a move across the infield should Furcal leave? Maybe, but the Braves haven’t used Green at shortstop yet, and I believe they actually moved him off shortstop because they didn’t like his arm. He obviously isn’t going to move Marcus off second base, and there’s no spot open at third either. So he needs to either be able to play shortstop full-time (to replace Furcal when the time comes) or at least part-time (to make it as a utility infielder). He will probably make the team in the latter role.

Nick Green – MLB Minor League Statistics – Baseball Cube

10 thoughts on “Nick Green”

  1. He’ll never be a star, and I agree that his shortcomings probably prevent him from being an effective starting shortstop. But if he can make a few plays there, then his good defense at 2B and a superficial batting average combine to make a decent utility guy. Hey, every team needs one, and he’s probably better than most of the guys who’ve filled that role for us (thinking especially of Lockhart).

  2. Defensively Green seems more like a second baseman than a shortstop to me. I see backup infielder as the best Green should ever really be used for.

  3. Mac, the numbers you cite show exactly why Billy Beane had no interest in Green. I think a utility infielder needs to be able to play all 3 non-1b spots, be an excellent baserunner and be able to handle the bat in key situations (bunt, move runners over, sac fly, draw a walk etc…)

    Green does not have enough of these skills to be useful. I do not see a long major league career for him.

  4. Does it come down to a choice between Green and Betemit as a utility infielder, or do the Braves have enough space on the roster to keep both? If not, could Betemit play second base? Green played a solid second base while Giles was out last year, and, unlike Lockhart, showed more range.

  5. But do the Braves want to keep 2 weak bats on the bench? Wouldn’t a 5th outfielder be of more use than a couple of guys destined to hit .180? If its a choice the edge goes to Betemit since he is a switch hitter.
    Green is a classic example of a guy that has most of his offensive value tied up in batting avg.

  6. I am not that high on Green. If he comes into spring training and shows he can play 3B and SS passably, there may be a spot for him.

    I don’t want to take away from this 2004 contributions. We would have, in all likelihood, been toast without him. But as the season wore on, his weaknesses started to show up again.

    The one thing I found amazing for Green is the early going (when at Richmond) is that he seemed to be trying to transform himself a bit. From reading scouting reports on him earlier in his career, his calling card seemed to be a pretty decent power projection for a middle infielder. His statistics in April and May (small sample size, I know) seem to indicate something different going on.

    As for Lockhart, he was no world beater (understatement), but I tire of those who pick him out as an example of a terrible bench player. I always thought the issue with Lockhart is that Bobby played him too much and he really didn’t have the tools to be a regular. But as a bench player, I always thought he was fairly valuable. He was a fairly disciplined hitter who could come off the bench and give you a good AB. Somehow, I don’t see that in Green, but granted, that is the pseudo-scout in me talking. Green just seems to have a couple of considerably large holes in his swing that were exploited as the season went on.

    But again, if he can play SS and 3B, I think we are looking at our IF back-up.

  7. I may not have credited Green’s sporadic use enough for his decline. I mean, he was already fading before Marcus came back, but afterwards he was really fighting for time against DeRosa, and may have been trying to hit a homer every time up.

    If the choice is between Betemit and Green, it will probably be Betemit because Green still has options. I doubt it, though. The Braves have usually carried two infield reserves. Also, the fifth outfielder would probably be McCarthy, a rookie, and a righthanded hitter. Neither Betemit or Green would be a really plus bat, but they’ve had worse hitters on the 25-man.

  8. You know, Nick does bear somewhat of a facial resemblance to Lockhart.

    This could indicate that he will be on the roster for years and years to come, getting at-bats long after his usefulness has disappeared.

    I’m still hoping to see him improve this year, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  9. 50, I’m not trying to run down Lockhart, I just think Green compares well to the guy who had the job for six years here. If you hit like a utility infielder, then defensive skill and flexibility makes you a more valuable player to have on the roster. There’s not a whole lot of difference batting-wise among the Braves last four backup 2Bs:

    Career BA, OBP, SLG

    Graffanino — .259/.330/.388
    Lockhart — .261/.319/.385
    DeRosa — .266/.318/.371
    Green — .273/.312/.386

    Actually, given that Green doesn’t have a history before 2004 of hitting for average in the minors, I may have to back off on the praise a bit. But if he can keep his OBP out of the twos, I like him better than ol’ Keith.

  10. Obviously Green’s stats are going to decrease during the latter part of the year because Giles came back. Stats can’t account for the way Bobby Cox got stellar play out of Green while he was a regular in the lineup. I expect similar wizardry from Bobby this summer…

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