When 2017 began, Hunter Greene was taking classes as a senior at Notre Dame High School in California. In May he graced the cover of Sports Illustrated. In June the Cincinnati Reds were elated to see him there at #2 in the draft and made their selection. A month later the 17-year-old right handed pitcher would sign for a draft record signing bonus under the new pool limits.

Despite signing in the first week of July, it would be a while before Hunter Greene would see the field. During his senior season he shut down his pitching in order to limit the risk of injury before the draft. That happened in early April. It meant that he had gone two months without really pitching in games, and so he and the Reds took time working him back into games.

In August he would finally make his professional debut, though it would be as a designated hitter, and not as a pitcher. Many scouts believed he was a 1st round caliber shortstop, and Hunter Greene wasn’t quite ready to give up the idea of being a position player as well as a pitcher. Between August 8th and August 23rd he would make seven starts as the designated hitter, going 7-30 with two doubles and a triple. He hit just .233/.233/.367 in limited action at the plate.

Four days after his last appearance as a designated hitter, Hunter Greene would finally debut as a pitcher. At home against the Helena Brewers, the just turned 18-year-old threw a shutout inning of work. It also included a strikeout. He topped out at 101.7 MPH on the day. His next outing, on September 1st, couldn’t have gone much worse. On the road against Missoula, Greene recorded just one out and allowed six runs on six hits with a strikeout. He rebounded well five days later, allowing just one hit and one walk in 3.0 innings with four strikeouts. That would end his season as the Mustangs fell just short of the playoffs.

For all 2017 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Hunter Greene Scouting Report

Fastball | From a velocity standpoint, it seems that right now, Greene may be unmatched in the minor leagues. His fastball sits in the 98-101 MPH range. When it’s at it’s best, it also shows good movement at that velocity.

Slider | The breaking ball of choice for Hunter Greene works in the upper 80’s. It’s already improved since his time in high school and flashes itself as a plus offering. It still can be inconsistent.

Change Up | His third offering, the pitch works in the low 90’s. It flashes itself as above-average right now, but like the slider, is inconsistent.

Curveball | He threw this pitch in high school, working in the upper 70’s. He seems to have backed off of it as a professional in favor of the slider.

Entering the draft, Hunter Greene was drawing rave reviews for his athleticism, for his fastball, for how mature he was both on and off of the field. Speaking with scouts and evaluators both inside and outside of the organization who had a chance to see Greene during instructional league, and even during earlier parts of 2017, those reviews may have been under reported. The quickness in which he was able to make adjustments was noted by several people I spoke with who saw his outings in instructional league. After struggling in one outing, his next outing against the same team was pure domination as he showed improved stuff across the board.

There are things that Hunter Greene will need to continue to work on. His consistency, building up his innings workload, and remaining healthy will be keys for him moving forward. His upside as a true #1 starting pitcher is rare. So rare that I spoke with multiple evaluators who would have ranked him as the organizations top prospect right now.


27 Responses

  1. Jim T

    Nice to see a young man who has his head on straight. Can’t wait to see how he does in 2018.

  2. The Duke

    He will be an exciting one to track through the system, but anyone expecting to see him in Cincinnati before 2021 or so needs to remember how minor league progression in baseball works. Once he comes up to Dayton (assuming it’s not at the start of the year to manage his innings limit and keep him from pitching in cold weather if he doesn’t have to) i’ll have to be sure to make it to one of his starts.

    • Wes

      Acuna is projected to play full season at mlb level at age 20. Think doc gooden was 19 at his debut.

      Greene will be going into age 18 season. Living up to hype, IMO, means he pitches sometime in double a in age 19 season and hopefully a sept call up in age 20 season. And then ready for age 21 season for a full season of ball. And He should be number 1 prospect in all of ball at that time.

      • Steve

        Ronald Acuna isn’t a pitcher so that isn’t a fair comparison. Doc Gooden’s debut was in 1984 and the game has changed since that time. Additionally, Greene basically didn’t pitch at all his senior year of high school. It is going to be a slow, innings limited progression for Greene and 2021 does sound right as the earliest we will see him in Cincinnati.

      • Colorado Red

        Why the hate man.
        You have been on his case, since he waited till the last minute to sign.
        Pitchers are handled differently now.
        6.5 years of quality production are better then rushing him.

      • Doug Gray

        While it’s not impossible that he’ll reach the big leagues at 20, it’s very unlikely.

        He isn’t likely to get a full season until he’s 19. Next year I will be shocked if he throws 100+ innings. Which means he’ll push 120-ish as a 19-year-old.

        There’s also no real reason to rush him. If the Reds get to the point where they are competing, it’s going to be because the pitching is performing well. If the team isn’t competing, there’s no reason to rush him because, well, why?

      • wes

        I don’t think I’m a Greene hater, but why give him a pass? He said he signed at end because he was holding out for money, which is the “right” thing to say, but in all honesty- he was holding out because he wasn’t sure if he wants to play in Cincy and/or Cincy’s organization- which again, I respect his choice, but not going to live in la la land over it…I will never doubt picking him- he was for sure the right guy to take- even if he didn’t sign last summer or never pitches in MLB.

        I want to maintain a realistic view of how he’s projecting. If he doesn’t hit majors til 2022 and is never better than a #3 starter- that’s a success in MLB draft terms. However, if he is a true 60 grade prospect that pans out- then it’ll happen much faster because he will dominate lower levels.

        Also, I think the science of building a workload is unproven. More Tommy John today then ever. Most pitchers peak is only a couple seasons and tons of players happen when very young. Felix Hernandez, who was in Robert Stepehenson’s draft class, is on the down side of his career and logged over 600 MLB innings by age 22; that’s a fair comp right? Different players peak at different times. Forcing players into a development system is poor management. Have a guide but don’t force it a certain way with every player.

      • greg

        “but in all honesty- he was holding out because he wasn’t sure if he wants to play in Cincy and/or Cincy’s organization”

        Wes, you have no way of knowing that.

      • Doug Gray

        Wes, you are confusing Felix Hernandez with someone else. He wasn’t in Stephenson’s draft class. He was pitching in the United States in 2003 as a 17-year-old.

        And while you can believe what you want about the innings increase, it doesn’t matter what you believe. The Reds believe it and they are the ones that will be making the decisions based around it.

        The team isn’t forcing anyone into a one-size-fits-all thing. Except for sort of when it comes to innings. Which is how every team is handling it, too. Maybe they are all wrong – but it’s not a Reds thing, it’s an all of professional baseball thing.

  3. MK

    It will be interesting to see how they manage Hunter’s innings. I’ll be surprised if he gets more than 90. Could be a very young staff in Dayton. I would expect Wennington Romero to be back but he will only be 20. Could be a year when they use the tandem starting system for a few guys.

      • Doug Gray

        That’s a big step for an 18-year-old. The only way he gets to 120 is if he’s in Dayton all year, which would be rather surprising. I’d expect to see him with Dayton for all of his time, but not in April.

  4. sultanofswaff

    Dreaming on the Reds division series game 1 lineup in 2020:

    Senzel LF
    Winker RF
    Votto 1B
    Stephenson C
    Suarez 3B
    2018 #5 pick SS
    Trammell CF
    Long 2B
    Greene P

    • sixpacktwo

      You have Senzel and Winker reversed and Barnhart will still be here. I have not given up on Persea? at SS.

  5. Michael B. Green

    I look forward to watching Greene mature and I hope he evolves into an ace. However, dating back to 2000, Dylan Bundy is probably the best name of high school pitchers taken within the first 5 picks. Bundy is starting to transition to a very good pitcher for BAL but as a 2011 draft pick, that tells you how long this could take. Granted he had injuries but with this much money involved, CIN is sure to use care and caution.

    If everything goes right, I see the following:

    2018 Dayton – Entire season unless he blows up the league. Could start lower and move up here. Age 18 for most of year.

    2019 Daytona – See how he responds to first full season of pitching. Will limit innings. Could get rewarded to AA if he has a successful season. Age 19.

    2020 Pensacola – His true test. Will spend at least half the season there. If he is on fire, he could move up to Louisville. If CIN is contending, we’ll start to hear chatter about a call-up. I doubt they start the arbitration clock early though. Age 20.

    2021 Louisville or CIN – They’ll probably wait to June to call him up. If there are any injuries along the way of this timeline, they could wait until 2022 to call him in order to take advantage of his exemption from the Rule V draft. Age 21.

    2022 CIN – 150 IP limit. #4 or #5 SP. Age 22.
    2023 CIN – 175 IP limit. #2 or #3 SP. Age 23.
    2024 CIN – No IP limit. Ace. Age 24.

    All of this could happen earlier than this timeline but Clayton Kershaw blossomed into an ace at age 22-23 so we should not expect Greene to top that much sooner than CK.

    • The Duke

      I think it was JJ Cooper who said he could see Greene possibly move up to High A after 45-50 IP in Dayton if he is able to just dominate low level hitters with his fastball. Move him up in order to make sure he is challenged. IF, IF, his fastball plays that well though.

      • Doug Gray

        I didn’t see this, but I’d be absolutely shocked if they moved him that quickly.

      • Tom Diesman

        I wouldn’t be shocked is he’s dominating at Dayton. Dick Williams did tab him as a “generational talent” after all. :)

      • Doug Gray

        I wouldn’t be shocked at all if he dominates in Dayton. I would be shocked if he pitched beyond Dayton in 2018, though.

  6. CP

    Great stuff Doug. Exciting to think there could be an elite shot in the arm for the rotation coming down the pipeline in the middle of the next contending window (hopefully). Greene could be coming on to the scene as we are seeing some others fade away (Disco, Finny, ect.)

  7. Mjc

    I agree with Doug. I don’t think he moves quickly next year. Hunter Greene shut things down in April as a high schooler. Took most of summer to build arm back up for maybe 4 innings in minors. Not much more than that in instructural leauges. So you can’t expect many innings next year.2017 in high school,minors,and instructional leauges combined was maybe 40 innings tops. so I think they ease him into action late spring and watch him closely

  8. Arnold Ziffle

    Overhyped. Overrated. Over-ranked. Over-coddled. Take off the kiddie gloves. Might as well place a “Fragile” sticker on his forehead. He can’t learn “How” to pitch hitters if he is standing on the sidelines all the time. Now is the time to start to toughen him up some by going out and pitch 120 innings next year. Pampering him will only be a disservice to Greene and the organization. The Reds got a flashy new sports car, and they decide to keep it in the garage.

    • Doug Gray

      You are ridiculous, Arnold.

      We’re you throwing a fit about how little Mike Leake played? Yonder Alonso? Yasmani Grandal? Were you calling them overhpyed? Overrated? Over-ranked? Over-coddled? Fragile?

  9. icehole3

    I think the Reds have come a long way in developing pitchers, I have the utmost faith in how they will handle Greene. I give the Reds an A+ in the last 5 years bringing pitchers through the system.

  10. old-school

    Thanks for the info Doug.
    I assume he has a trainer assigned to him this winter coordinating his workouts.
    Is he on a throwing program as well- long toss a few times a week? or totally shut-down?
    Do we know who is coordinating his pitching repertoire and development? The other issue about moving up from Dayton too early is the need to master secondary pitches. He needs to learn how to pitch and command his secondary pitches. The temptation would be just throw gas when you need an out. I hope the Reds make him use his secondary pitches , even if that makes his stats less dominating.

    • Doug Gray

      If he has someone working with him over the winter it’s not someone with/for the Reds. They give each guy a general plan they’d like them to follow during the offseason, but they aren’t providing them with people. It’s up to the players to provide their own training.