Zach Green entered the 2014 season as one of the Phillies’ fastest rising prospects. The swift ascension was halted though, as the 20-year-old third baseman had a difficult go of things early last year and was sidelined with a hip injury, playing hurt for much of the season.
After being drafted in the 3rd round in 2012, the six-foot-three 210-pounder notched a .284 average with three homers and 21 RBI in 47 games for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies. He followed up that season with an All-Star campaign in the Class A short-season New York-Penn League, posting a .252 average with a league-leading 13 home runs and 41 RBI in 74 games for Williamsport.
This year the righty batting Green missed roughly seven weeks with the ailment that limited his range for the entire season. When the hip issue became too painful to play with in April, the California native was sporting a .219/.293/.260 slash line. After he returned to action in June, Green tallied a .282/.322/.443 line, proving how productive he could be for the Class A BlueClaws. While trying to recover, the youngster crossed the diamond to man first base in order to continue competing and remain on the field.
Recently, I spoke with Zach, who is now pain-free and working to improve this off-season. Read ahead for details on his routine, who he’s working out with, his feelings on last year’s health concerns and more.
-What is your off-season routine like right now? What are you doing to begin knocking the rust off after some down time?
It’s just like agility stuff and whatever weights I have scheduled. I work with a couple other pro ball guys that are from the Sacramento area. I’m starting to get back into throwing now a little bit and swinging a little bit.
-Who are the guys that you’ve been working out with?
Max Stassi, who is with the Astros, Ryan Mattheus, who’s with the Nationals. He’s a pitcher. Danny Hayes, he’s with the White Sox, and then Brock Stassi too. He’s with us. We go to this place, we got a guy who does some training, it’s all for (physical therapy), so if anybody gets banged up in the process, he’s there to help us.
–I spoke with Aaron Nola recently…he and a lot of guys that are draft picks out of college always say that their colleges welcome them back to train in the off-season. You were picked out of high school and don’t have that same support system. What’s your connection to the facility that you guys use?
A lot of the guys from my high school go there. They’re one of the best places, man. Sacramento Results. They’re a good PT place. But, if I wanted to go back to my high school and use their weight room, they’d be more than happy to let me use it. I was just there, had a little baseball camp that they had going on.
-When you go to a camp like that and get to speak as someone who has been there as a student, or in their shoes, what is the reaction you get from the kids you are able to speak to?
From the kids, they usually have fun questions. They usually ask how many home runs I’ve hit. You know, what’s the farthest ball I’ve hit. The kids are always funny. And you always have the parents asking about the whole process we go through. So, it’s very fun talking with the kids and the adults, of course.
-Over the off-season, do the Phillies mandate anything you have to improve on or work at?
The Phillies they give us this whole thing online that we can go and log in for workouts. They’ve got a throwing program, they’ve got a nutritional part on their web site. So, yeah, they take care of us as far as if we have any questions on nutrition, should we be throwing right now, should we be hitting…they have that all set up for us.
-I know you had a tough season, with the injury and all. In retrospect, what are you thoughts on your 2014 campaign?
2014 was rough. I don’t think I was ever on a baseball field without pain. But, I guess I just kind of- if I ever do get hurt again, I’ll have that experience with it and I’ll know how to deal with it better. With that being my first experience with an injury and my first time being out a long time (it was tougher).
-Was there anybody that you bonded with last year that you picked up a lot from or who helped you improve baseball IQ wise?
Yeah, Andrew Knapp, our catcher…he’s from out this way. He lives probably 10 minutes away from me. And he’s older, he’s a college guy. We were together (in 2013) in Williamsport and again this year, so then we were together again this year and we’ve gotten to talk a little more. I’ve seen him a few times this off-season and our friendship kind of grew. His dad played pro baseball, so he’s got a really good baseball IQ and anytime I want to talk some hitting or just talk baseball, he was definitely my go-to guy this year.