A's Green wins XM Futures Game MVP Award
PHOENIX -- Supposedly, familiarity breeds contempt. For A's prospect Grant Green, however, it helped him win the Larry Doby Award as the XM Futures Game MVP on Sunday.
Green went 2-for-2 with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored to earn the honor. His second double started a three-run, eighth-inning rally for the United States Team to allow it to come from behind and beat the World Team, 6-4. That one came against the Royals' Kelvin Herrera, a reliever with nasty stuff who has gotten the better of Green in the Double-A Texas League when they've met in the past.
"I've faced him two or three times and I think I have two or three broken bats," said Green, who plays for the Midland RockHounds during the season. "It's about time I finally barrel something up on him."
He barreled it up and then some. Green got all of it, hitting it to straightaway center field, where he thought he had a home run. But thanks to the big wall at Chase Field, it landed just below the home run line and he had to stop at second.
"I thought it was gone," Green said. "I didn't know it was a 15-foot-high wall. I thought it was a normal wall. I even heard from people in the stands when I got to second base, telling me to hit the weight room. The shortstop [Jurickson Profar] was cracking up behind me. It's all fun and games. That wall's huge. They need to lower that thing, make me feel good about myself."
His first double came off the Rangers' Martin Perez, who also makes his living in the Texas League. That two-base hit brought home the Giants' Gary Brown to give the United States a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning. That, combined with this being his second straight time in the Futures Game, certainly didn't hurt Green's performance.
"[There were] a lot less nerves," Green said. "It helped that the two guys I faced, I've seen before in the Texas League. I've faced them numerous times, so I knew exactly what they wanted to do and what pitches they had. It made it a lot easier, and I was much more comfortable."
2011 Futures Game
That's even with being out of his normal defensive comfort zone. While some scouts have said they are unsure if Green will be able to stay at shortstop long term, that's really the only place he's played as a pro after being taken as a first-round Draft pick in 2009. But he moved over to play second for the U.S. Team on Sunday, though A's fans shouldn't get too used to seeing him on that side of second base.
"Jemile [Weeks] is a hell of a second baseman," Green said. "He's not going to be moving off that position any time soon. They came up before the game and asked if I could play second. We had Manny [Machado] and Tim [Beckham], two excellent and very young shortstops. I said, 'Yeah, sure, if that's where you need me to play.'"
After Green's second double kicked off that eighth-inning rally, it was Beckham who doubled him home to tie the score. He, too, narrowly missed leaving the yard, with about three feet keeping the Rays' prospect from laying claim to the MVP Award.
"You come into the game just wanting to have a good game, man," Beckham said. "If you get the MVP, you get the MVP. But that's a great honor, and I'm happy for Grant over there. He's a great ballplayer."
The way the game began, it looked like the U.S. Team's starting second baseman, Jason Kipnis, would be the Larry Doby Award winner. The Indians prospect hit a leadoff homer off Braves prospect Julio Teheran to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead in the first inning, automatically becoming the early front-runner. But Kipnis was just fine with how things turned out.
"That would've been sweet," Kipnis said with a smile. "But the guy who replaced me did a great job and deserved it."
Green got off to a slow start to the 2011 season, but started putting up the numbers most have come to expect from the offensive-minded shortstop. To be able to keep it going here, in front of scouts and team executives, is nothing but a good thing for the 23-year-old, and he's the first to admit it will give him a nice boost as he heads back to the Texas League, right after he gets the chance to celebrate with those who were here to watch him play.
"I think, to them, it shows you can compete against the cream of the crop of other organizations," Green said of the executives on hand to watch the game. "For us, too, it's the type of thing you want to do well.
"It was a nice breath of fresh air after being in that Midland heat. This is like my All-Star break. I'm going to go out with my family again tonight, and I have a 6 a.m. flight back to Springfield."