After nearly 2.5 years of time spent not pitching in games following Tommy John surgery and then the 2020 year spent at the Cincinnati Reds alternate site, Hunter Greene seems to be having a good time on the mound in games. In his first start for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts, Greene struck out eight batters in 5.0 innings as he allowed three hits without a walk.
Last night it was more of the game. On the road for the first time this year, Hunter Greene was dominant in the first four innings against Montgomery before a walk and a 2-run home run – only the second hit of the game he allowed – finishing the night with those two runs allowed in 5.0 innings on two hits, a walk, and seven strikeouts.
For the 21-year-old right-handed pitcher he’s now thrown 10.0 innings and allowed five hits, a walk, and he’s struck out 15 of the 36 hitters he’s faced. That’s a 41.7% strikeout rate and a 2.8% walk rate. His ERA sits at 2.70 and his WHIP is at 0.60.
During the game his fastball worked in the 99-101 MPH range and he topped out at 103 MPH multiple times according to the Trackman system that they have in Montgomery. But just as impressive was his slider that worked 88-92 MPH and reached 93.
The velocity is impressive. So was the control. It wasn’t until the 5th inning that there was even an at-bat where he seemed to miss at all with any of his pitches. His fastball location was dialed in all night long and he threw it almost exactly where he wanted it. The slider was also one he threw exactly where he wanted it – until that 5th inning when for a short stint he missed a few of them in a row. Through two games he’s thrown 154 pitches and thrown 111 strikes – that’s a strike rate of 72%.
Is Allan Cerda taking the next step?
We’re a week into the minor league baseball season. For a position player you really need more time to truly know if someone is taking that next step. Unlike a pitcher where you can easily see where they may be taking that next step because they went all Tejay Antone and picked up 6 MPH over the winter, a hitter can simply be on a hot streak and give the wrong impression. If nothing else, Allan Cerda is on a hot streak right now for the Daytona Tortugas.
The 21-year-old center fielder is hitting .368/.538/.895. In six games and across 26 plate appearances he’s doubled twice, tripled, and he’s homered twice. But more importantly, he’s walked six times with seven strikeouts.
Allan Cerda has always had plenty of tools to work with. He’s an above-average runner, he’s got plenty of pop in his bat – but he’s struggled a little bit with his plate approach. In 2019 with Greeneville he drew 20 walks in 165 plate appearances – a quality walk rate. But he also struck out 56 times – that’s a 34% strikeout rate. The power was there, but the rate of contact was simply too low. There’s still a 26.9% strikeout rate this season, but the six walks that go along with it is a potentially promising sign that he’s tightened up his approach a little bit.
Brian Rey is playing Babe Ruth
Last night in Dayton’s home opener Brian Rey homered in the 7th inning. It was his 5th home run of the season in just his 6th game played. He’s now got five home runs on the season and just one strikeout if you are looking for an early season stat that’s wild.
However that might not be the wildest stat. Brian Rey has outhomered South Bend, Lake County, Peoria, West Michigan, and Great Lakes among teams in the High-A Central. He’s tied with Fort Wayne and Quad Cities, who also have five home runs. The poor South Bend Cubs had played in six games, haven’t homered yet, and are slugging .254 as a team. Yikes.