The Cincinnati Reds have selected right handed pitcher Hunter Greene with the #2 overall pick in the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft. The righty is just 17-years-old and out of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California.
Hunter Greene Scouting Report
Fastball | While he’s topped out as high as 102 MPH, he generally sits between 93-97 MPH with the pitch. It features some armside action, especially at the 93-95 MPH range.
Curveball | This pitch has been a bit controversial recently. Jim Callis of MLB.com had this in a recent article about Hunter Greene:
Some scouts rate his curveball as well below average and think he’ll have to scrap it in favor of a slider, while others grade both offerings as fringy, but with the potential to become plus.
If you’ve watched plenty of video on Hunter Greene, you can see where both sides are coming from. If nothing else, right now, his curveball is very inconsistent. Depending on when you see him, you could come away with very different opinions on his breaking ball.
To add to it, Christopher Crawford says that he believes that Hunter Greene has a potential plus breaking ball. So, we’ll have to see how it develops moving forward. There are a lot of varying opinions here.
Change Up | The pitch doesn’t get used as often as the other two pitches, but it shows promise. It’s got nice armside run and some sink to it.
Now, where Hunter Greene stands out aside from the pure grades of his pitches, is that he’s an incredible athlete. He’s a guy who would be a mid-1st round pick as a shortstop if he weren’t so projectable as a pitcher. The Cincinnati Reds absolutely love athletic pitchers and Hunter Greene is at the top of that list. Another area where Greene shines is his composure and his maturity which stands out in a big way for a 17-year-old.
Baseball America’s JJ Cooper had an interesting thing to say about Hunter Greene on Twitter just now.
If you are a Reds fan be thrilled. Greene has an insanely electric arm. I think when he signs he leaps over Senzel as team’s No. 1 prospect.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 12, 2017
Just a reminder that as the Baseball America rankings currently sit, Nick Senzel is the #6 prospect in all of baseball. He’s suggesting Hunter Greene is a better prospect than that.
To expand, JJ Cooper added this tweet a few minutes later (after I told him he was crazy for his tweet, but that I also liked crazy at times):
To put Greene-Senzel debate into BA Grade terms. Senzel is a 60/Medium. Greene is a 70/Extreme. Can go either way, but Greene has upside.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 12, 2017
The number of course, is the upside/role of the player. A 60 grade player is a guy who’s an All-Star. The risk is the description, and for Senzel, it’s just medium. With a 70/Extreme is suggesting a perennial All-Star player, but the risk assessment is of course extreme. That’s not surprising given that we’re talking about a 17-year-old pitcher. But, it puts into perspective just how high the true upside is for Hunter Greene.
Reuters Jeff Wallner had this from Dick Williams just now.
#Reds GM Dick Williams on Greene: “We do not see prospects like this very often. Physical talent is special. Exhibits great intangibles”.
— Jeff Wallner (@JeffWallner) June 12, 2017
The slot value of the #2 overall pick in the draft is $7,193,200. The highest bonus ever paid out in the draft since Major League Baseball put in the slotting/pool restrictions came into play went to Kris Bryant in 2013 when he signed for $6,708,400. I’d be shocked if Greene got that much, but I’m still expecting him to get between $6.2-6.5M. The signing deadline is July 15th.
Initial thoughts on Hunter Greene
While Hunter Green was not the top guy on my draft board, I’ve said many times that I’d be perfectly fine if he were the selection. Chris Buckley and his scouts have a track record that I believe stacks up with anyone in the game. They’ve earned my trust, and should have yours (and if they don’t, you need to go look at how they compare to other teams and it’ll change your mind with a quickness).
Hunter Greene represents about as much upside as you can have on the mound. He’s got elite velocity. He’s incredibly athletic. There are some who believe he’s got a potentially plus breaking ball to work with. He’s shown a change up. The off the field makeup is absolutely off the charts by every report you’ll ever find. He’s also one of the youngest players in the entire draft, and that is actually quite important to remember as well. There’s not much to dislike with this pick. He’ll likely take longer to reach the big leagues than some of the college players, but aside from that aspect, there’s no real reason to think this wasn’t an outstanding pick by the organization.
The Reds on Hunter Greene
Chris Buckley had this to say about Hunter Greene:
Hunter is an extremely athletic and very talented high school prospect who has been on the scene for many years. He is a 2-way prospect who has shown an advanced feel for pitching, significant raw power with the bat and very good fielding ability.”
General Manager Dick Williams had this to day:
We do not see prospects like this very often,” said Dick Williams, President of Baseball Operations, General Manager. “The physical talent is special, but he also exhibits great intangibles. We enjoyed getting to know Hunter and his family during this process. His parents should be very proud of the job they have done. We are excited for the opportunity to bring him into our organization.
More from Dick Williams, for those who were wondering about Hunter Greene playing shortstop.
Dick Williams says Hunter Greene is a pitcher first, but door to playing in the field isn’t closed.
— Zach Buchanan (@ZachENQ) June 13, 2017
One more from Dick Williams, this time from John Fay
Williams says they see Greene as a pitcher. Sounds like he will pitch and DH this summer after he signs. But no shortstop. #reds
— John Fay (@johnfayman) June 13, 2017
This is where things get interesting and I think that I actually like this plan quite a bit. In the minor leagues pitchers don’t hit until they reach Double-A. And even then, they only hit in games when two NL teams are facing off, otherwise the designated hitter is used. With Hunter Greene being a quality hitter, one who would have been a 1st rounder, getting creative and allowing him to hit could be rather beneficial in the long run, assuming they stick with that plan. It’s very tough to pick up hitting again after years of not facing top level pitching, and while it does happen every so often, most of the time it simply doesn’t. But if you can do something like let Hunter Greene start every 5 days in the minor leagues but also DH 3-4 times a week, too, and also try to develop his bat, it could provide lots of value on top of what he can bring on the mound. The top hitting pitchers in baseball are bringing 1.0-1.5 additional WAR per season with the bat.
At the same time, this could simply be one of those things like we’ve seen with a few players around baseball in the past, where the team let’s them do a little bit of both things that first year. Then, the following year they tell the player what they will do moving forward. I guess time will tell.
For information on all of the other Cincinnati Reds 2017 Major League Baseball Draft Picks, click here.