There seemed to be a good media contingent today in Goodyear, Arizona for the Cincinnati Reds instructional league game. There’s probably a good reason for it, too. Hunter Greene was on the mound for the first time in instructional league. Bill Mitchell, who is a photographer and also contributes photos and writes for Baseball America was there. So too was Fangraphs lead prospect writer Eric Longenhagen.
We will start out by talking about Hunter Greene and what Longenhagen reported:
Greene was 99-101 with a spin rate around 2200. Curveball flashed 55 but depth and bite varied, upper-80s slider was fringey. Looks fine.
— Eric Longenhagen (@longenhagen) September 25, 2017
The velocity is always nice to see. We saw that from Hunter Greene in his first professional game, too. In that outing he topped out at 101.7 MPH according to a source that I spoke with that night. What stands out to me as the good stuff here, though, is the spin rate. 2200 RPM for a fastball at that speed is actually on the low-end of the spectrum. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a little bit different.
Low-spin fastballs tend to induce more ground balls and fewer swings-and-misses than higher-spin fastballs at the same velocity. While the high-spin/low-spin may not necessarily be caused by a 2 or 4-seam grip, you can think of the movement of the pitch in that way. A low-spin fastball will have more sinking action to it, while a high-spin fastball will have more “rise” to it (pitches don’t actually rise unless thrown underhand or overhead in which case no one will ever swing at it and it’ll go right to the netting behind the plate).
The game itself, turned into a slugfest, in which the Reds won 14-12. The winning runs? Those came on a Taylor Trammell walk-off 2-run home run according to Bill Mitchell.
Taylor Trammell hit 2-run walkoff HR for #Reds win, 14-12. 3 hr, 20 min instructs game. Wow!
— Bill Mitchell (@billazbbphotog) September 25, 2017
It’s not that Taylor Trammell doesn’t have some pop in his bat now – he had 47 extra-base hits in Dayton last season, but the power is just going to keep coming for him. The ball will carry off of his bat at times much further than you expect when he makes contact. He’s got such a well rounded game already, despite turning 20-years-old less than two weeks ago.