Taylor Lindsey, come on down, you’re the next contestant on prospect roulette. Some of you may be surprised by this, seeing as Lindsey is the consensus Angels top prospect entering 2014 and if Howie Kendrick is traded this winter as many of us believe he will be, Lindsey would be in line for a starting spot in a year or two. Lindsey comes prepackages with average defensive range, a solid glove and adequate arm for the position as well as the ability to consistently spray balls into the gaps from the left-side of plate and run into the occasional homerun. He’s the heir apparent to Howie Kendrick. Or is he?
Enter Grant Green. Green was acquired in an unexpectedly brilliant move by Jerry Dipoto at the deadline last year. Green is a three-time Top 100 prospect, former first round selection and Anaheim native. A failed shortstop, Green attempted the transition to second base in 2013 (albeit unsuccessfully) at the major league level, which is hardly the time to be trying out a new position for a rookie. Still Green flashed the bat that made him a desired prospect for the last few years, batting .280/.336 with 10 XBH in 40 games. In the minors, Green hit around .300 at every level (career .306 hitter) with a respectable on base percentage. He displayed consistent gap power and the ability for double digit homeruns on an annual basis. Ultimately, the key to Green’s successful transition to the major leagues will be in his ability to learn to play a passable second base.
If you look at the two side by side in a comparison of skill set, there’s hardly a difference. Should they both hit for average? Yes, perhaps Green with the slight edge. Should they both reach base an adequate amount? Yes, again with Green having the slight edge. Should they both collect their fair share of XBH? Yes, in perhaps a dead-heat, they are equal. Will they both have their struggles defensively at second base? Yes, with Lindsey being the better of the two right now. The main difference between the two of them in Lindsey is four years younger than Green, but only a year behind in the development curve.
Still, at the major league level you can expect the two to be a relatively even commodity in terms of actual performance. The difference in value right now is that Taylor Lindsey is a prospect (and a good one at that) and Grant Green used to be one but is now a major leaguer without a sure-fire position. This essentially means that in the Angels search for starting pitching, Taylor Lindsey may have considerable value, despite not holding a considerable edge over Green in long-term value. The Angels may be able to trade Kendrick and Lindsey and not end up regretting it. After all, if Grant Green can learn to play second base next year (as everything indicates he should be), he could be plugged in as an everyday second baseman while Andrew Romine backs him up until yet another promising Angels second baseman makes the leap, Alex Yarbrough.