Hunter Greene hadn’t pitched in a minor league game since July of 2018. It’s been a long time for the Cincinnati Reds top prospect to take the mound in a game that counted in the standings. In 2020 he pitched at the alternate site with Cincinnati. And in the spring he did pitch in one game with the big league club in March. But games that count in the standings? It’s been nearly 2.5 years, but Greene made the most of it in his Double-A debut with the Chattanooga Lookouts.
The final line was a good one: 5.0 innings, 3 hits, 1 earned run, 0 walks, and 8 strikeouts. That line came on 71 pitches with 51 strikes.
— Chris Blessing (@C_Blessing) May 6, 2021
The earned run was initially ruled as unearned. But after the 1st inning a scoring change took place and turned an error into a hit. That inning contained two hits and the lone run that Hunter Greene allowed. Over the next four innings he allowed just one hit.
There were some absolutely silly things going on in the start. Hunter Greene threw 43 fastballs in the game and 37 of them were 100 MPH or faster. The right-handed starter topped out at 102.6 MPH in the game. The Chattanooga Lookouts tweeted out that the 37 fastballs of 100 MPH or more is the most in a game in either Minor League or Major League Baseball since Statcast began tracking things in 2015.
The fastball certainly played well on the night. But that wasn’t the only thing that was working as Hunter Greene left many hitters left scratching their heads when he dropped a slider over the plate. I charted the game, though there were 8 pitches that I was unable to designate what they were due to the camera angle being a wide angle shot from overhead of the entire field rather than the CF camera from behind the pitcher. With that said there were 23 sliders thrown that were charted. 6 of them went for called strikes. Another 7 of them went down as swinging strikes. In total Greene had 17 swings and misses in the game on his 71 pitches.
Tony Santillan gets it done
While Hunter Greene was certainly the headline grabber in the farm system on Wednesday night he was not the only top prospect on the mound. In Louisville Tony Santillan took the mound against Columbus and he threw quite well in his Triple-A debut. The right-handed starter was charged with an unearned run on 3 hits in 4.0 innings with no walks and he struck out 7 while throwing 64 pitches with 45 strikes.