Yesterday I wrote about Hunter Greene’s appearance for the Cincinnati Reds in instructional League. He was sitting 99-101 MPH with his fastball. At the time that I wrote up the article yesterday, there wasn’t a report on how his day had gone. Instead, I focused on writing about the velocity and the reported spin rate, and what it could mean.

Today we saw Fangraphs post the full outing, which didn’t make it an entire inning (reached his pitch count – the inning was ended because of it). Here’s the video:

As you can see in the video, Hunter Greene didn’t have the best day on the mound. The first batter of the game doubled down the line. A ground out to shortstop followed from the second hitter of the inning. The third batter would triple. He walked the next batter. The fifth batter of the inning struck out on a breaking ball. An RBI double followed and the inning was called due to the pitch count being reached.

It’s worth noting that instructional league is called that for a reason: It’s about taking instruction. Guys are working on very specific things at times and it seems like for Hunter Greene, on this day, it was his offspeed stuff. You obviously would have liked the results to be better than they were – but they don’t really mean much of anything in what turned out to be an absolute slugfest of a game.

Correcting an error

In the article written yesterday I linked to an article with some data in it regarding the spin rates of Major Leaguers. It wasn’t the correct link and was showing information that could have been misleading. As noted yesterday, Hunter Greene’s fastball spin rate according to Fangraphs Eric Longenhagen was about 2200 RPM yesterday. In the article I noted that was a little bit low for the velocity in which he was throwing. That part is indeed correct, but the article that I linked to didn’t have that information in it directly. I just wanted to clear up some confusion there. To expand on that, I’ve run the data for pitchers in the Major Leagues in 2017 and their spin rates on fastballs.

Velocity Spin Rate
97+ 2333
96-96.9 2276
95-95.9 2285
94-94.9 2260
93-93.9 2233
92-92.9 2201

Once again it’s worth noting that the group of players throwing 97+ is very, very small. The sample size for the group of guys throwing 93-94 MPH is three times larger. The same for the group from 92-93 MPH. While the correlation isn’t very strong, there is one between throwing harder and higher spin rate on the fastball. Grouping players by the velocities on 1 MPH intervals shows that – but within the specific groups you do see both higher and lower spin rate guys. As a quick refresher: Less spin = more sink and more spin = more “rise”. More spin, in general, leads to more swings-and-misses in the Major Leagues. With that said, it’s not the fastball that generates the most swings-and-misses for hardly any pitcher alive, it’s the secondary stuff. Spin rate, particularly on the fastball, isn’t nearly as important as a lot of other things (control, velocity, deception).

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8 Responses

  1. MK

    Great video, nice way to start the morning, thanks. Certainly a high priced battery. Good to see Tyler behind the plate and Trammel in center.

    With all the hype we sometimes forget it is a process. Sometime it seems like it is never an easy process for the Reds.

  2. sultanofswaff

    Cool video. I like his mound presence. In general, not a big fan of prospects with 12-6 curveballs as their out pitch. It seems they waste a lot of development time trying to command it only to end up scrapping it in favor of a tighter breaking slider. Won’t suprise me if the same thing happens with Greene.

      • MK

        They say when Nolan Ryan was on you could go to the mound and see one foot mark where he would stride and he was so consistent there was just one mark. Watching the video Greene seems to stride in one spot the whole inning.

  3. Richard Williams

    Welcome to MLB Hunter Greene. You aren’t in California anymore. Minor leaguers aren’t high schoolers, they can hit 100mph. To say Greene got hit hard would be a huge understatement. I read somewhere that there are only about 7 games left in the Instructional League season. Greene might get one more start. Progress would be getting one complete inning in. One complete inning. A tremendous amount of hype about Greene, yet this all we get, 10 IP’s. Very, very unimpressive first season from Greene. Did any other high first round draft pick have as unimpressive of a 1st season as Greene did? I think not. The Reds drafted a dud.
    Hunter Greene = Chris Gruler.

    • Doug Gray

      “All we get is 10IP”

      So what? He, nor the Reds care much about what “we” get out of this.

      As for the dud comment, the amount of guys that got out to tough starts and went on to be outstanding would take me hours to type. Lest we forget that in 10 games in Billings, Nick Senzel didn’t hit his body weight. Sure, he went to Dayton after that and beat up on the league – but that’s kind of the point. That time didn’t matter in Billings. It was a small sample size. It didn’t tell us much of anything of usefulness.

      Take a deep breath. Take a step back. Realize we’re talking about a 17-year-old, or now a barely 18-year-old and that even in the best case scenarios he’s going to be another 3.5 years before reaching the Major Leagues. Stop worrying, analyzing and determining the future over 10 innings. It’s crazy talk.

  4. MK

    For those who have not been to Spring Training, this is just how close you can be to the action on the minor league side and you can turn and see the other three diamonds at same time.