Green Must Balance Brains And Baseball
By Steve Henson
Los Angeles- Will Shawn Green bypass The Farm for somebodys farm system? Major league scouts throughout Southern California ponder the question
The choice for Green, a senior outfielder at Tustin (Calif.) High and one of the top ranked high school prospects in the nation by Baseball America, is at the same time simple and difficult. Attend Stanford, where he has signed a letter-of-intent, or put out word that an education can wait if a signing bonus contains enough zeros.
Would enough green land Green?
I tell the scouts that Im planning on going to collage but will keep an open mind. Green said
And what a mind he keeps. Greens grade-point average is 4.5 on a scale of 4, which is something like going 4.5-for-4 in a baseball game. Green gets extra points for taking honors classes, but perhaps take is the wrong word.
He jumps all over them like thigh-high
fastballs on a 2-0 count. He crushes them. Green has never had a
grade lower than an A in high school.
Those numbers and the Stanford factor cause scouts to squirm.
He would choose bouncing along in a bus through the Appalachian League with a cheese burger and fries on his lap over strolling the pastoral grounds of Stanford? No Way
But wait. Baseball is his greatest love. Green is no pointy-headed Poindexter. Hes an aggressive 6-for4, 180 pound fielder who bats left, throws left, and does everything right.
Green lead the Team USA juniors last summer with a .486 average at the world junior championships in Havana,, Cuba. Hes a four-year starter at Tustin who is about to break the Orange County career record for hits. Hes got a big league arm and outstanding range. He stole 30 bases last season.
Those numbers cause the scouts to salivate.
He would choose four years of sitting through courses like Age of the Reformation over playing a game that could land him millions of dollars by age 25? No Way.
Green correctly points out, however, that at Stanford he can pursue a higher education and a higher batting average. Nothing gets by this guy.
Id like to go to collage for three years, said Green, who clearly has done his homework on draft day eligibility rules. Its be a lot of fun to play collage baseball. Ive always wanted to play for the national championship.
Green, by nature quiet and analytical, has become more outgoing. After hitting a home run in the sixth inning to tie a game in the Upper deck Classic March 26 against Ocean View (Calif.) High, Green thrust a fist into the air and whooped it up. In the bottom of the seventh he threw out a runner trying to score on a fly out and again raised a fist in triumph.. His teammates picked up on his cue and Tustin won 4-3 in eight innings.
That kind of emotion was a surprise to everybody., Tustin coach Vince Brown said. Shawn has programmed himself into someone who doesnt allow himself to show emotion. I think well see more of it. I like it.
Shawn needs to be a kid. A lot of times he acts like the things he accomplishes are automatic, like those things are supposed to happen. I think he found out that nobody laughed at him, nobody judged him for it.
The programming began early for Green, whose father Ira was a high school basketball coach. Green studies, plays baseball, studies some more and them plays more baseball. Otherwise he can be found in the batting cage in his back yard.
For the past year, Green has employed Jim Walsh, a sports consultant and former professional football player, to develop a specialized physical development regime. Green who has gained 20 pounds since last year, credits Walsh with helping his running form, improving his mental outlook and his physical strength.
Green its clear does nothing halfway.
Hes a tremendous mind, very analytical, Brown said. For four years Ive respected anything he says because a lot of thought goes into anything he says.
The lone questionable aspect of Greens game is his speed. Brown takes the blame for that.
In terms of sheer speed, hes the
fastest on the team, Brown said. Where he is lacking
is his first step out of the box. Maybe I havent worked
enough on that. But that can be learned.
And learning has never been a problem for Green.