Any way you slice it, Grant Green truly is an angel in the outfield.
Ever since the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim called Green up on May 2, the second-year outfielder has done nothing to suggest his playing time should be decreased. In fact, Green should see regular duty.
Originally called up to serve in a platoon with J.B. Shuck in left field, all Green has done is hit safely in eight of his nine games played. He has just missed three games, and a slight finger injury was why he missed one of those contests.
Green’s performance has also jump-started a lineup that looked like it was a bit morose going into the 2014 season. Albert Pujols was coming off of plantar fasciitis that severely hampered his power stroke. The Angels signed Raul Ibanez for a reliable bat and a dependable designated hitter, but his average way below the Mendoza line has led to reduced playing time. Kole Calhoun looked promising early on until an ankle injury sent him to the disabled list.
Green has worked out much better than anyone ever dreamed.
When Green was with the Oakland Athletics at the start of the 2013 season, he played primarily infield positions. This will help the Angels. Green can play second base and third base as well as outfield spots.
The result, at least so far, is a .324 batting average and some much-needed pop at the bottom of the lineup. Green batted eighth in Sunday’s 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Shortstop Erick Aybar is hitting .266 at the seventh spot in the lineup, and the ninth spot is in flux with injuries to both David Freese and Ian Stewart at third base.
Will Green become the next Mike Trout? Hold off on those predictions. Green only has two home runs in his career. He projects more like a speedy doubles hitter who bats for high average. As long as Trout and Pujols hit the home runs, players like Green can contribute with singles and doubles at the bottom of the lineup.
As long as Green stays healthy he can set the table at the bottom, or at least provide a potent bat to help turn over the lineup to the top of the order.
Let’s face it. Green is still in his second season and hasn’t even played a full year in the big leagues yet. Given that Angels manager Mike Scioscia has had nothing but problems in the last couple seasons with hitting, pitching and injuries, Scioscia will take any help he can get.
That’s why Green is a true angel in this outfield.