Baseball America

National League

A Braves first baseman looks like a 24th-round steal PAGE 36

Brewers center field prospect faces pivotal 2020 season PAGE 37

A Mets lefty relies on composure and conviction to get results PAGE 38

PAGE 36 Reds shortstop Jose Garcia accessed his power more frequently in 2019. Now he heads to Double-A to continue his development.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

During his senior year at Parkview Baptist High in Baton Rouge, righthander Josh Green remembers a former player returning to campus to talk to the baseball team.

His name was Blake Johnson, a former 10-year minor league pitcher, and he had a pitch grip suggestion for the young Green.

“I threw it a couple of times, it didn’t really do anything,” Green said. “I waited probably about a year and was looking for something else, looking for a new pitch. I was like, ‘Hmm, maybe I’ll try that again.’”

It turned out to be a wise decision. This time, the pitch—a one-seam sinker—moved and darted the way it was supposed to. Years later, it has become the 24-year-old’s bread-and-butter offering, and it has put the young righthander on the map in the Diamondbacks’ system.

It is not a stretch to say that Green’s sinker is the reason he is in big league camp this spring, a particularly noteworthy accomplishment for a 2018 14th-rounder from Southeastern Louisiana.

Last season, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Green jumped from high Class A Visalia to Double-A Jackson and ended the year 11-5, 2.71 in 126.1 innings.

Green remembers Johnson commenting on his arm slot and the way the ball came out of his hand before recommending the sinker grip. The new grip has fueled Green’s success and helped him control the ball relatively well to both sides of the plate, where before he was aiming down the middle to try and keep the ball in the zone.

The next step in Green’s development is the refinement of his secondary pitches—his curveball, changeup and slider.

Green will start this season at Double-A, with some in the organization believing he could reach the majors by the end of the year. Green recognizes how quickly things have come for him as a pro, adding that he’s going to keep working hard to make a big league cameo happen.

“You can tell that if I want this I can go get it,” Green said. “If I keep putting my nose down and keep working for it, it’s there for me.”

—NICK PIECORO

ATLANTA BRAVES

The Braves are hopeful they have landed a steal from the 2019 draft in 21-year-old slugger Bryce Ball.

The Dallas Baptist product slipped to the 24th round of last June’s draft despite his imposing physical stature. The left-handed-hitting first baseman is every bit of his listed 6-foot-6, 235-pound frame.

As a junior last year, Ball hit .325 with 18 home runs, 12 doubles and 54 RBIs in 63 games.

There were whispers that signing concerns pushed him down the board, but the Braves had little issue bringing

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