The Milwaukee Brewers claimed Nick Green on waivers last week, after the Angels needed a slot on the 40-man roster for Bobby Abreu.
Whenever another organization acquires one of our minor leaguers, I like to see what that team’s hometown newspaper has to say about our player, because it gives some insight into what that organization saw in him.
Sure enough, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a story February 12 on Nick Green. Here’s what they had to say:
The Angels designated Green, 24, for assignment on Tuesday to make room for the signing of free-agent outfielder Bobby Abreu. Green, 24, pitched at Class AAA Salt Lake last season, going 8-8 with a 5.32 ERA in 28 starts.
In 159 innings, he allowed 186 hits and 44 walks and logged 112 strikeouts. Opponents batted .292 against him. He has two minor-league options left.
The 6-foot-4 Green is not a hard thrower – his fastball is in the 89- to 91-mph range – but has an excellent changeup and decent curve. He pounds the strike zone, one of the reasons he surrendered 31 homers in 2008.
“He’s a tall, lanky guy who throws strikes,” Melvin said. “He does give up some home runs but he knows how to pitch. He’s not overpowering.”
Green was #8 on the 2007 FutureAngels.com Top 10 Prospects report. Here’s what I wrote in November 2007:
Nick Green became known as “the 9:30 Guarantee” because he once promised an umpire that a home game with a 7:10 PM start would be finished by 9:30 PM. Green had a reputation as one of the league’s fastest workers, but he was also one of the most durable. Green led the league in innings pitched (178.1 IP), averaging 6.4 IP per start, and was sixth in ERA at 3.68 ERA. Nick’s velocity is usually in the high 80s, so he has to get by on location and his secondary pitches. His “plus” pitch has always been his changeup that can have a screwball action to right-handed batters with late sink. He also has a curveball, and added a slider in 2007.
Green’s fastball tends to finish high in the zone, which results in a lot of fly balls — and home runs. As noted above, Dickey-Stephens Park is very pitcher-friendly. Green gave up 17 homers in 2007, the fourth highest in the league, with 12 of those on the road. His GO:AO ratio was 0.74 (lower than the team average 0.97), meaning that his strikeouts plus fly balls are greater than the number of groundouts he throws. On the bright side, he did a great job of holding baserunners — only 19 runners attempted to run on him all year, and of those only 10 were successful.
Nick’s away numbers were less impressive than at home, as you might expect. His home ERA was 3.28, but his road ERA was 4.01. He was a much better pitcher in the second half, though, and his final four starts were on the road. In those four starts, his ERA was 2.78, so it looks like his second-half progress was legitimate; his Post All-Star Game ERA was 2.88.
Green is pretty much a lock to start 2008 at high-altitude Triple-A Salt Lake, which means his home runs allowed can’t help but increase. He reminds me of Matt Wise, a right-hander in the Angels system in the late 1990s. Matt’s plus pitch was also a changeup. Wise and Green are of similar physical stature. During his 2001 tour with Salt Lake, Wise gave up 19 HR in 123.1 IP — 10 HR at home in Salt Lake in 56.1 IP — and posted a 5.04 ERA. So if you want to use Wise as a template, expect Green’s 2007 high ratio of fly balls and homers to worsen with the Bees.
I expect Nick will eventually wind up in a setup reliever role, similar to Wise who now pitches for Milwaukee. Hopefully Nick avoids the “Tommy John” surgery Matt suffered in 2003. Green could also evolve into a back-of-the-rotation starter if he can improve his secondary pitches.