Hunter Greene, the Cincinnati Reds top prospect, has been having his way with hitters in the Double-A South this season and last night was not much of an exception. Taking on the Tennessee Smokies the right hander allowed two runs – both in the 7th inning on a blooper with two outs – over 7.0 innings with a walk and eight strikeouts. He threw 101 pitches with 70 strikes, setting a new career high in pitches and matching a career high in inning pitched in an outing.
Through five starts on the season Hunter Greene now has a 1.91 ERA in 28.1 innings. The 21-year-old has allowed just 18 hits, one home run, walked nine batters, and he’s struck out 41 of the 109 hitters that he’s faced (37.5%). Greene leads the Double-A South in both innings pitched and strikeouts. He’s third in the league in ERA (Nick Lodolo leads the league) and he’s fourth in WHIP (0.95 – and Lodolo also leads the league here, too).
For both Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo, who starts later today for Chattanooga, each start they have is getting them closer to being promoted. While I’m sure we have all seen the calls to promote them to the big leagues right now, and some calls to at least promote them both to Triple-A, it’s probably still a bit early to promote them to the big leagues. But you can also understand the idea behind it. These two pitchers are the organization’s top two prospects and they have been absolutely dominant in Double-A through their combined nine starts. But the fact that it’s been nine starts between the two of them is the reason that we should take a deep breath for a second on the “call them up to the big leagues” thing.
One thing that is often talked about is how guys will adjust once a team gets a look at them the second time around. Or how the league will adjust when there’s a better scouting report out there on someone. Greene has faced a team a second time once this season – and it went really well, for the record. This afternoon will mark the first time on the season that Lodolo will face a team for a second time this year.
Maybe for these guys it won’t matter much. They’ve got the kind of stuff where it might not matter as much as it would for others. But it’s also probably worth seeing, too. If they are still both doing what they’ve been doing in another month then the conversation of “isn’t it about time they are promoted (at least to Triple-A)” holds a lot more water. Scouting reports get more detailed with each start and hitters have more information to work with. This, in theory at least, also helps the pitchers adjust back.
The Cincinnati Reds need help on the pitching staff. Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo certainly may be able to help out with that today, particularly in the bullpen where there’s a lot more need for help. But the Reds need Greene and Lodolo to be starting pitchers in the long run if they want to get where everyone actually wants this franchise to be. Keep them in the minors for now. Let them continue to get innings, whether it’s in Double-A or Triple-A, and let them keep learning. The minor league season is not even at the 1-month mark yet. Don’t punish their development because the ownership group decided they didn’t want to spend any money and it left the bullpen an absolute mess.
Jose Garcia is now Jose Barrero
Touched on this a little bit in the game review, but adding it again here: Jose Garcia, who has been out for much of the last week on the temporary inactive list, returned to the Chattanooga Lookouts lineup last night. But when he returned he also returned with a new name. Garcia is now going by Barrero. That was his mothers last name. She passed away and this is one of the ways that he is choosing to honor her.
Austin Hendrick is still out
A week ago Austin Hendrick was hit by a pitch in Daytona. He initially remained in the game, running the bases and taking the field the following inning. But when the team took the field the inning after that he was replaced. The 2020 Reds 1st round pick hasn’t been in a game since then, and he’s not in the Tortugas lineup today, either. He hasn’t been placed on the injured list, though. It would seem that the team didn’t expect this to linger as long as it has. The minors have a 7-day injured list, which would mean that Hendrick would have been eligible to return on Tuesday after the scheduled off day on Money. He’s missed all of that time anyways, leaving Daytona a player short the entire time.