Is Green an option at first base?
Prince Fielder is gone- we all know that. As of right now, his set replacement is Mat Gamel, a 26-year old who is oozing with talent, but has been stuck at the prospect level for the past few years. He’s also been inconsistent when given the chance at the Major League level, but that could change with more consistent playing time.
Another option could be Corey Hart, the Brewers’ current right fielder. He came up as a first baseman, and has recently said that he would play first base if the Brewers needed him to. He didn’t sound too thrilled about it, however.
But I think there’s one name that everyone is forgetting- Taylor Green. He was called up on August 28th of last year and saw very limited playing time, but did show some promise. He got a hit in each of his first four at-bats, but went somewhat average after that, finishing with a .270 batting average. Green didn’t hit a home run at the Major League level, although he’s apparently supposed to be a home run hitter- at least that’s what his Minor League statistics show.
Green’s natural position is third base, and his secondary position his second base. But, like most infielders, he can also play first base, if needed. And I’d sort of like to see him a chance at first. He got limited time at third base last year- only two or three starts, if I recall correctly- and he didn’t look great defensively. All of Green’s throws to first looked extremely awkward. When you see an experienced Major League third baseman field a ball and throw it across the diamond, it’s usually a strong, somewhat side-armed throw- that’s what we saw from Casey McGehee over the past few years, and what we’ll probably see from Aramis Ramirez over the next few. But, when Green threw, it appeared that he didn’t even extend his arm all the way back- it looked like he just put his hand up to his just and tried to push the ball to first base. That doesn’t put any strength behind the throw. (If you don’t know what I mean when I say this, think about a pitcher trying to throw a knuckleball. He doesn’t extend his arm all the way back, but instead pushes the ball out of his hand.)
Anyway, that explanation probably wasn’t necessary, but my point is I don’t see Green as a third baseman at the Major League level in the future. Plus, he’d have to wait awhile, as the Brewers just signed Ramirez to the multi-year deal. But, I think that if Gamel ends up not working out, and Hart isn’t willing to make the move to first, Green could be an option for that position. He certainly has the making of your typical offensive first baseman- he hit a combined 22 homers and 91 RBIs between Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville. And, as far as defense goes, first base doesn’t require much throwing, except for turning double plays and throwing home. How do you think Fielder and his weak arm survived at first base since 2005?
Now, this is just a theory- I doubt Green will play first next year. But, it is his best shot at the Majors, with Ramirez in place at third, and Rickie Weeks at second. Either first, or a utility role, but that’s not usually a good role for rookies trying to get accustomed to the Majors. But we’ll see what happens with Green- I think he’s got potential.