Third base prospect Zach Green was selected by the Phillies in the third round of the 2012 draft out of Jesuit High School in California. Since then, the six-foot-three 205-pounder has shown great potential and has impressed many.
After signing his first professional contract in 2012, Green sported a .284 average with three home runs and 21 RBI in 47 games with the Gulf Coast League Phillies.
Last season, as a 19-year-old in the Class A short-season New York-Penn League, Green led the league in homers (13), doubles (20) and runs scored (52) while batting .252 and driving in 41 runs in 74 games with the Williamsport Crosscutters.
Through 15 contests this season with Class A Lakewood, Green was off to a slow start, posting a .186 batting average with two doubles, four RBI and three steals. A right hip injury put Green out of action and a roster move was made, demoting the 20-year-old to extended spring training. A reversal of the transaction could be made sooner than the required seven days if he had been placed on the disabled list.
I spoke with Zach this week about the ailment, his draft experience, representing the ‘Cutters as an All-Star and plenty more. Read ahead for that full interview.
-What can you tell me about your hip injury and the roster move that came along with it?
It’s like a nerve issue and nothing serious. I think they just put me on the (extended spring) roster so they didn’t have to burn a DL…be on there for seven days and maybe I can come back the fifth or sixth day. It’s kind of like they’re just giving me rest and it’s one of those things I was playing from the beginning of spring training so they want to just make sure it’s fully healed before I go back on the field.
-So is it still possible that you’re back more quickly than seven days?
Anything is possible at this point.
-What’s the severity of the issue? You said you were playing with it for a while. When did the pain become too great to play?
About last week- last Saturday, the game in Hagerstown. It really hurt and that’s why I got scratched right before game time on Monday.
-You got off to a bit of a slow start and then your last four games leading up to the injury you began to turn things on, going 6-for-15 with a couple RBI. How do you feel about your season thus far?
Yeah, the slow start is just baseball. All of spring training, I never felt, like, comfortable like I usually am, until the injury, I started to feel like I normally am. I felt I was about to get even more hot, so I mean, unfortunately the injury happened when it did, so I’m just excited to get back out there.
-You had a really tremendous season last year with Williamsport. You represented the Crosscutters as a New York-Penn League All-Star. How do you feel your season last year prepared you for the next step here with Lakewood?
It was a fun year and I think it got me ready with just the travel and bus rides and playing every single day and getting used to what professional baseball is really like.
-I mentioned there that you had an All-Star season. You got to go out there and enjoy that along with some Crosscutters teammates. Does doing that along with some friends make that experience more special?
Yeah, I think it shows that we’re part of a good organization and all those guys- it was (Jiandido) Tromp, (Tyler) Buckley, (Gabe) Lino…three really hard workers, so it was really cool to be out there with them.
-You got a trophy during your trip there…All-Star home run derby champion. What can you tell me about that?
Yeah, I mean, a lot of the guys were having fun out there, trying to see how far we could hit it and I ended up competing against my teammate Gabriel Lino in the last round and that was pretty cool. A lot of trash talk. So, I’m really glad I got the win when I knew I was facing Lino in the championship. (Laughs)
-So, that gave you bragging rights for a good stretch of time?
-Also, I wanted to ask you about your draft experience. You were selected by the Phillies in the third round of the 2012 draft. How were you tracking it and how did you celebrate?
I was actually just hitting in the cage and I got done my round and I had a feeling I was going to be drafted a certain time during that day and I looked at my phone and I had a bunch of text messages and missed calls, so I had a feeling that I just got drafted and that’s how I found out.
Then, I just finished my round and went out to dinner with my parents and my area scout.
-Was there any level of surprise that the Phillies chose you or were they the top team interested in you to that point?
There were other teams, but the Phillies were high on me and I had a really good relationship with my area scout, Joey Davis, so it wasn’t too much of a shock that they picked me.
-So speaking of getting drafted and transitioning to the pro’s, how easy was the transition for you? Was it easier of more difficult than you expected?
I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I just wanted to take it all in and learn every single day. So, I wouldn’t say I was expecting much, but I’ll say one thing I got out of it was know your body. Know when to take less swings in the cage, knowing when to take more swings and just get used to playing every single day.
-Who were some players your looked up to growing up?
I think most recently, when I was in high school, guys like Evan Longoria, um, (Ryan) Zimmerman. Guys at the hot corner. And then when I was little, (Derek) Jeter. He’s just the captain. And guys like Cal Ripken. Bigger guys in the infield, those are guys that I looked up to.
-You’re a California guy. Were you ever able to get out to the park to see any of those guys play?
I grew up as a Giants fan, so I didn’t really get to see those guys play, but I grew up watching that ’02 team…Barry Bonds, Rich Aurilia, Jeff Kent. You know, those guys smashed down the bay area and it’s hard to hit home runs there. So, yeah I got to go see a couple Giants games.