Hunter Greene made his professional debut as a pitcher on Sunday afternoon in Billings. It’s been a long awaited debut as a pitcher after being drafted in early June. The Cincinnati Reds slowly brought him back to the mound after not signing until early July and having not pitched since April.

The first pitch of the game was 101 MPH. It was a strike swinging. The next pitch was also 101 MPH. The next two were only 100 MPH. The first batter eventually singled into right field as there was some confusion on who would play the ball between the first and second baseman. The next hitter grounded into a force out. With the third batter at the plate, The recently turned 18-year-old Greene went to work and showed off his pickoff move to an unsuspecting Tristen Lutz who walked back to the dugout. The final batter of the inning also walked back to the dugout as he was the victim of

Hunter Greene’s first professional strikeout. It took 15 pitches to get through the first frame. Speaking with a source in Billings the 15 pitches resulted in 14 fastballs thrown and 1 breaking ball. The breaking ball was 83 MPH. The fastballs were thrown between 98 MPH and 101 MPH. Greene topped out at 101.7 MPH according to the Trackman that is installed in Dehler Park.

Small sample size alerts everywhere, but Hunter Greene did everything you want to see from a pitcher. He threw strikes, with 12 of his 15 pitches being strikes. Greene kept the ball on the ground with both balls put in play being grounders. And when you can get it, he threw the ball incredibly hard and by the hitters.

As long as the Reds and Mustangs keep Hunter Greene on a regular starting pitchers schedule, he will make two more starts this season. I haven’t spoken with anyone yet about this, but it would be expected that in each of those two games his pitch count will be extended further than it was today.

23 Responses

  1. RedsKY

    Should there be some concern that Hunter has only DH’d 7 times and pitched 1 inning since being signed? Jeter and Stuart seem to be playing just about every day. What is the holdup with Hunter?

    • Greenfield Red

      Kid just turned 18. That kind of arm doesn’t come along every day. There has been no sign of a potential injury slowing him down. I’m sure they have a plan for him. As Doug has mentioned, he may very well pitch in Dayton next year which is full season ball, and they are probably preparing for that.

    • Doug Gray

      The hold up was that he didn’t pitch since early April, so it took a while for him to get his arm back to the point that they were comfortable letting him go out there and let it go. He also didn’t face living pitch since early May. So he went more than 2 months without seeing live pitching, too. So he got about 4 weeks to get back to that before DH’ing. And no – there’s zero reason to be concerned.

  2. Mbushskbum

    2nd row to the side of the C. Have a picture of his first professional pitch. I can confirm the report Doug received. The one fun thing was on the k Hunter thought the 2nd strike was the 3rd and headed for the dugout. He then gave a chagrined shrug and finished the job.

  3. MK

    Don’t get the whole 20 pitch count thing. can not imagine the kid learned a thing, or even worked up a sweat from throwing 14 fastballs and one breaking ball.

    • Doug Gray

      It’s about him getting the work in. Next time out he’ll probably throw 35 pitches. Then the next time maybe 45-50. Then he can keep going in instructs.

      • RickDinSTL

        Not to mention he is also throwing 15-20 minutes of bullpen warmup pitches, stretching, running, etc. I’m sure he broke a sweat.

      • RedsinWashSt

        Don’t you think they are going a little to slow Doug. The amount of inning he going to get is going to really limit how many inning he will get next year.

      • Doug Gray

        This year isn’t going to change next year. Sal Romano didn’t pitch at all the year he was drafted (and he was also drafted as a 17-year-old). He spent the next year in Billings and threw 64 innings. He probably threw another 40 in extended spring training before that season began.

        Next year I’d guess that Greene starts out in extended spring training, then at some point around June he joins the Dragons rotation. He’s going to be 18 next year. The odds that they sent him out there from Day 1 to pitch the entire season from April through August were slim and none, regardless of what happened in 2017.

        Last year there were 5 pitchers who were drafted in the top 15 of the draft out of high school. Here’s the date in which they made their debut in 2017:

        Ian Anderson (3rd overall pick) – 4/9. And he’s been shut down, and after June he was very limited in the action that he did get, never throwing more than 4 innings and throwing less than 4 innings in 5 of the 6 starts he did get after June.

        Riley Pint (4th overall pick) – 4/9. He’s pitched all year, though they’ve skipped him a couple of times along the way to limit his innings. He’s also really struggled, but, he has thrown 93 innings. He’s also nearly a year older at this point than Greene will be at this same point next year.

        Braxton Garrett (7th overall pick) – 5/8. He made 4 starts and has undergone Tommy John surgery. He was also a full year older than Greene when drafted.

        Matt Manning (9th overall pick – 6/20. He began his career when the rookie leagues started. He made 9 starts in rookie ball, then jumped to the Midwest League where Dayton plays. His first two starts in that league he didn’t make it out of the 2nd inning.

        Jason Groome (12th overall pick, but arguably the top player on the board who fell for signability reasons) – 4/10. Then he didn’t start again until the rookie season began on June 19th. He apparently got hurt in that first start and missed the next two and a half months.

        We need to remember that if Hunter Greene were in next years draft, he’d be younger than a few high schoolers taken in the first round or two. There’s no reason at all to push things. He turned 18 three weeks ago. He’s probably, at best, 4 years away from pitching in Cincinnati. Having him get an extra 15 innings pitched in 2017 is meaningless to that.

  4. Mustang John

    Wow. 2 pitches at 100 nothing at 101 looked good.nice pick off move

  5. haven

    regardless of what happens with greene I am so happy the reds took him, this kind of arm talent is so rare, I love the role of the dice

  6. Kacat

    Call me confused why anyone is getting their panties in a wad about limiting the work and easing a freshly turned 18 year old into pro ball geez he isn’t playing in Cincy next year folks.

  7. Drew

    It was fun to see his debut and wish him success for years to come! One question- wasn’t the first pitch a swinging strike?

    • Doug Gray

      It was. I don’t know what I was thinking when I typed that. I’ve got it written down on my pad of paper that I was taking notes on during the game.

  8. Jonathan Linn

    The Reds are kind of in the “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

    We all know the fans would be crucifying the Reds if they pitched Greene with a heavy workload this year and he ends up having TJ surgery within the next 2 years.

    And it looks like fans are killing the Reds for being gentle with Greene as he ramps up to pitching a full season next year.

    Greene could end up being clear #1 “once in a generation type SP” – why would we want the Reds to chance. Remember what happened to the last two young HOT Reds SP’s? Gary Nolan and Don Gullett???

    • Doug Gray

      I am pretty confident that Gary Nolan and Don Gullett were not the last two young hot Reds starting pitching prospects.

      But yes…. the Reds are in a weird no-win situation with some people right now. The hot takes on Hunter Greene are very surprising to me.

      • Jonathan Linn

        Yes. your probably right. Just the first two that I remember where their careers were ruined by pitching injuries. I guess the most recent one is Chris Gruler that I can think of

      • Doug Gray

        If we’re talking about guys that had their arms fall off, sure. But if we’re just talking about top end pitching prospects, the Reds have had at least two guys that were Top 25 caliber prospects in all of baseball reach the Majors as those guys in the last 10 years (Bailey and Cueto).

  9. Michael Parker

    Any chance the Reds try to flip Hunter for a young controllable and established arm that can be a contributor sooner that Greene? It appears that he won’t see MLB action until 2020/2021.. Is that beyond the prime contention window? What would be his trade value? Just a thought?

    • Doug Gray

      I mean, there’s a chance, but it’s an incredibly small one. To the point that I can’t even envision a scenario where it would happen.

    • Hingle McCringleberry

      Why would you do that? That’s being impatient and it never works out. There is a very good chance if he makes it to Pensacola, he’ll take the same track as Castillo. I see 2019. Wouldn’t be surprised if they start him at Dayton next year.

  10. Hingle McCringleberry

    101mph means nothing without command and feel of the strike zone. Sometimes we get caught up in that. Robert Stephenson figured that out now he’s down to 93-95 mph, but better command. Sort of.
    Even Castillo had to learn 2 other pitches.

    He needs to own both sides of the plate like Castillo to keep the hitters off balance. Own both sides mean throwing strikes on the inside and outside.