Hunter Greene, the Cincinnati Reds top prospect and #2 overall draft pick in 2017 hasn’t pitched in a game since he had Tommy John surgery on April 9th or 2019. That was just over 14 months ago. Before the baseball world came to an abrupt halt, along with much of the rest of the world, the plan for Greene as explained during spring training by Reds Senior Director of Player Development Shawn Pender, was for the right-handed starter to begin throwing in extended spring training games in mid-to-late May. Then from there he would join either Dayton or Daytona and piggy-back with another starter as he would have his innings and workload monitored.
For Hunter Greene, his first bullpen session came back in March during spring training. That was the first time we got a real look at his new mechanics while throwing near full effort (he had shown off the new mechanics while tossing in previous videos he had shared online). Since things shut down and players had to head back home and perform workouts on their own, Greene has been sharing some of those online via his social media platforms. Earlier this week he was on the mound and in his words, he was “playing with the timing” – pausing in his wind up at different times.
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What is the most intriguing part of the video, though, is the Rapsodo peak we get to see. It’s quick, and the glare is hiding a little bit of the video. But we still get some of the information on the screen. While there are several pitches in the video, we only see info from one of them, but it was a 96 MPH fastball. The spin rate? That was 2363. The average MLB spin rate on a fastball is roughly 2250. The more spin, the more a pitch appears to rise, and the less spin, the more it sinks (on fastballs). Of course, spin rate in itself only tells part of the story. Spin efficiency, spin direction – those things matter, too. The gory details on those explanations, though, require far more reading and explanation.
But then there was late last night when the 20-year-old posted some video in his instagram stories (we can’t embed those). What was in that story you ask? Oh, nothing big, just Hunter Greene hitting 101.5 MPH (a radar gun’s going to round that one up to 102, so we’re calling it 102) and 101.0 MPH in a bullpen session.
Tommy John surgery? New mechanics? No big deal for Hunter Greene. The elite velocity is back where it was before he injured his elbow in July of 2018, and then again in March of 2019 during spring training.
MLBPA commits $1,000,000 to help minor leaguers
While not every team has made the commitment to paying their minor leaguers $400 per week through what would have been the end of the regular season (the Reds are among the teams that have). The MLB Players Trust has committed $1,000,000 to help minor league players this year.
The Major League Baseball Players Trust on Wednesday announced it will commit $1 million to help support minor leaguers unable to play this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The world health crisis has put many professional sports leagues on hold, including the minor leagues, costing these young players a season to showcase their talents and causing serious economic hardship in many cases.
“Major League Baseball Players are proud to support our fellow players in minor league baseball,” said Cardinals pitcher Andrew Miller, who serves as a Players Trust trustee. “These players have found themselves hit hard as a result of the pandemic and are unable to play the game we all love. The game is also their livelihood and there is no doubt the financial impact has been challenging. We hope to help them navigate these difficult times.”
The Players Trust will pursue strategic partnerships with organizations that are already involved in providing needs-based support to young players throughout the minor leagues. A primary objective is serving players who have had their careers paused through no fault of their own and who now find themselves struggling.
“Like most Major Leaguers, I came up through the minor leagues and understand the challenges that exist. Players recognize their collective responsibility to leave the game better than they found it so that the next generation is empowered to do the same for the players who will follow them,” Executive Director Tony Clark said. “Within the baseball community, minor leaguers have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic and many of them will lose a season they will never get back. We will continue to seek ways to support them.”
About the Players Trust: Major Leaguers contribute their time, money and celebrity to call attention to important causes. Each year the Players Trust distributes more than $1.5 million in annual grants and programs. For additional information, please visit www.PlayersTrust.org. Follow the Trust on Twitter (@MLBPlayersTrust) and Instagram (@mlbplayerstrust)
It’s not entirely clear how all of this is going to work, though I’d imagine if players are in need of assistance that their agents can help them figure out how to take advantage of this help from the Players Trust.