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.

12 Responses

  1. MK

    I have always believed that Homer Bailey and Robert Stephenson had their development retarded by public, media and management pressure to get them to big leagues and sell a few extra tickets (more so the tickets with Homer than Robert). Let these guys build up some pro innings and (Greene passed 100 pro innings last night and Lodolo not there yet) and don’t ruin them too with short-sided moves.

    • RojoB

      What percent was the rushing, and what percent was both of them reportedly being hard to coach?

  2. RojoB

    “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.”

    On point

  3. Jim

    Lodolo and Greene are both dominating. After 10/12 starts of this, don’t you need to move them to AAA? Worthy of at least a Sept call-up so far. Keep them to around 100 innings? Then expect 130 from them as MLB starters or AAA in 2022 or RP for part of a season to keep innings down.
    No season last year and their play is complicating someone’s job.
    Maybe try Greene as a 40 appearance closer with 3 inning saves? Move Antone to SP and use Lodolo in his place?
    Hopefully they did 100 innings last year in their camp and do 130 this year and I wrote all this and worried for nothing.

    • Doug Gray

      The September call up may be a thing mostly of the past. September rosters only expand now by 2 spots, going from a 26-man roster to a 28-man roster.

      I don’t know how the team plans to limit innings for guys this year. With how last year went, it’s just an impossibility to really know. Even the big leaguers, at least earlier this year, were kind of in a “we’re just not really sure, we’re going to monitor a lot of things along the way” kind of situation.

      That said, Greene said he threw 100 innings last year. Now, how that broke down is unknown. Was he counting spring innings, back at home workout innings, and Prasco innings? He certainly didn’t throw 100 innings at Prasco, where he only pitched for 2 months. Lodolo probably threw a little more than Greene did last year because he wasn’t coming back from surgery and had a full spring and was also in “summer camp” with the Reds before Prasco.

  4. Bill

    Votto should have been called up two years before he was promoted. Reds are trying to save money instead of winning. Don’t want to start the clock on these 2. Blowhard owner will intervene at some point and screw it up like he always does.

    • Doug Gray

      Sorry Bill, but this is simply incorrect. Joey Votto had an outstanding year in 2006 when he won the MVP Award of the Double-A Southern League. But the next season when he was in Triple-A he didn’t exactly light the league on fire. He was good, hitting .294/.381/.478, but he wasn’t beating the door down. Both Jay Bruce and Jeff Keppinger had a higher OPS than Votto did with Louisville in 2007 (both had between 200-300 plate appearances, while Votto had 580).

      Now, Votto probably would have more than held his own in 2007 with the Reds had he been called up all season, but he probably wouldn’t have been all that good yet, either, given that in Triple-A for a full season he was merely good and not great.

      As to holding down guys to not start their clocks…. teams really don’t do that with pitchers anymore. This is also the same team that didn’t hold Jonathan India back this year. It’s the same team that called up Jose Garcia last year, and if he had actually hit, would have had him as the starting shortstop this year, too.

      I’m not a fan at all of how this team’s ownership group operates. But you missed the mark on this one.

    • Old Big Ed

      Nah on Votto. He was called up in September 2007 in his age 23 season, and did very well. In 2005, or the “two years” of which you speak, he slashed .256/.330/.425 in the FSL. Those are good A+ numbers for that league, but it wasn’t enough to suggest that he was ready for MLB at age 22, having never even played AA ball. He did dominate at AA in 2006, so you could make a case that they were a year late in bringing him up, but not two years.

      (There is a myth that Votto was held back in 2008 for Scott Hatteberg, but in reality, Hatteberg started only 8 games at 1B in 2008.)

      To me, elite pitching prospects should be brought up when there is nothing else for them to learn in the minors. At that point, the only way they can fully learn how to get MLB hitters out is to actually face MLB hitters. These two are getting close to that point, but I think they both need a handful of starts at AAA. Santillan is pretty much at that point, too, and is next up.

  5. SteveLV

    Patience, folks. Hunter Greene now has 100 official innings pitched that weren’t in high school, Lodolo, about 50 that weren’t in college. Give them a little time to learn, develop the knowledge and confidence that is helpful in taking the step to the majors. They aren’t going to save the Reds’ season this year. The priority for the organization needs to be developing them for the next number of years. Give them a few more starts in AA, get them some starts in AAA this summer, then see if time in the bullpen with the Reds later in the year is in their best interest.

  6. kevinz

    Agree on Nick and Hunter.
    let them devlp go through the up and Downs.
    See what we have in Vlad and Tony first.
    Then go on from there.