Nick Green was a pitcher the New York Yankees had on their radar for a long time. Green was originally drafted by the Yankees in the 35th round of the 2013 Amateur Draft. Green felt he wasn’t ready for professional baseball and chose to go to Indian Hills Community College in Iowa instead.
“I didn’t think I was ready to start a career. I wanted to be more mature, more developed physically I would say,” Green said of the decision to play college baseball rather than accept the Yankees offer at the time.
The time at Indian Hills turned out to be invaluable and helped prepare him for his pro career. “They were actually an international scouting team as well. I played with a lot of Latin guys on that team. I played with older guys. I got to travel, go to a different state, so it was good,” Green said.
That year at Indian Hills helped catch the attention of scouts and once again, Green was drafted. This time, the Texas Rangers came calling in the seventh round. Green felt more ready to start his career by this point. “I did not know (the Rangers) would take me but I was really excited. I knew they were interested, but I wasn’t really sure how interested,” Green said.
The Rangers assigned him to their Rookie Arizona League team where he got his feet wet. Green went 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 14 games, five of which were starts. For 2015, the Rangers bumped him up to class A short-season Spokane. Green struggled going 0-3 with a 7.11 ERA. His struggles though were in part due to an injury that slowed him down. “I went through an injury and I came back not as confident really. I had a really good first half and then after my injury, I kind of went downhill after that and my confidence went down after that,” Green said.
For 2016, Texas sent Green back to Spokane where he went 2-2 in 12 starts with a 4.98 ERA in seven starts striking out 65 batters in 62 innings pitched. Then on August 1, Green received a call he wasn’t expecting. “(Rangers Assistant Director of Player Development) Paul Kruger called me and just said he’s happy with what I’ve been doing with them, he said I had been traded. I was pretty excited for the new experience, but I knew I was going to miss some guys with the Rangers of course,” Green recalled.
The Yankees received Green, along with Dillon Tate and Erik Swanson, in return for Carlos Beltran. Green was happy not only about the trade but about who he was traded for, as Beltran may someday be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. “That was pretty exciting, that was awesome. I was pretty excited about that,” Green said.
The Yankees assigned to Staten Island where Green got off to an excellent start. He was 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA with the Baby Bombers. Those numbers earned him a quick promotion to Charleston, where Green kept up his momentum. “I was really excited just to get started and meet everybody. I was really excited to start with another team (Staten Island) as well because that’s just another group of guys I got to know. The guys down there were awesome, so I was really happy to move up and start here with the new guys and get to know them,” Green said. With the RiverDogs, Green’s numbers were even more impressive going 3-0 with a 1.06 ERA, striking out 14 batters in 17 innings. Those numbers earned him the game one start for Charleston in the South Atlantic League playoffs. “I mean all these guys here are unbelievable, so to get that was a really really big blessing and an honor. I was excited to go out there and I gave them my best.”
Green struggled in the first inning of that start in a 3-1 RiverDogs loss. The Rome Braves ended up putting up two runs in the first inning. They would tack on another run in the third to make it 3-0. Green went five innings and took the loss. “It was exciting, it was really fun. I had a great time even though I didn’t produce what I should have, but I had a really fun time. The guys out there were unbelievable, they had my back. They swung the sticks the best they could and it was great,” Green said of his start. “I went out there and I just pitched my game. I’ve been working on a couple of things. Going out there and just continuing to do what I’ve been doing and trying to continue. That’s what I went out there with that mindset. Nothing really changed, it was just a bad outing.”
Green throws a fastball, curveball and changeup. He ends up striking out a lot of hitters and tries to pitch aggressively, throwing lots of strikes. “I just try to stay aggressive. I usually like when hitters are aggressive because they’re swinging. I like to throw my curveball out there, mix in a changeup every couple of times. I really like when they’re aggressive and I really like to just attack,” Green said.
One of the things the Yankees are looking for Green to work on is having a consistent throwing motion. “I guess like any other pitcher, more consistent mechanics. Continuing the same mindset every game. Just trying to be consistent over all, just like what any other pitcher would do,” Green said. “I’ve been working with Popey (pitching coach Justin Pope) and a couple of the coordinators around here. They’ve talked to me a little bit, but nothing too specific. I’ll be going to instructs so we’ll see what they have for me there.”
As for 2017, Green has a game plan in mind. “Getting bigger, stronger, obviously those are the two great things. Continuing my mental preparation every day and just getting better, confidently. I guess just to continuing to keep consistent mechanics. Make sure I don’t fall out of my every day routine,” Green said. “I’m going to go in and just obviously do my best, just like I do every year. I’m just going to go in with a plan and I’m going to go prepared.”
Green’s effort is what drives him to be successful, “I’m going to give my best every time I go out on the mound so you’re going to get what you came for.”