Two of the Cincinnati Reds top prospects took the mound last night. Tony Santillan started game one of a doubleheader in Triple-A Louisville, while Hunter Greene took the mound for Double-A Chattanooga. Neither of them disappointed.

Tony Santillan is pitching like he wants to be the next pitcher called up to Cincinnati. The 24-year-old right-handed starter had pitched well all season. He entered last night with a 2.49 ERA, eight walks, and 32 strikeouts in 25.1 innings.

His stuff was working at a different level on Friday night against St. Paul. Santillan set a career high as he racked up 13 strikeouts while allowing two runs on three hits and four walks in 7.0 innings – getting a complete game in the process. He threw 111 pitches in the game with 66 strikes.

His slider was a problem for the Saints hitters. But so was his fastball. One of the things that plagued Santillan the past two years was consistent velocity. Some nights he would throw in the mid 90’s, but other times he’s be more 92-94. This season that’s not been a problem and last night may have been the best outing for him from a fastball velocity standpoint. He was routinely hitting 97 each inning. His last two fastballs of the game were 98 and 97 MPH.

Video from the Louisville Bats

Following the game Tony Santillan’s stats looked like this on the year: 2.51 ERA in 32.1 innings, 23 hits allowed, 5 home runs, 12 walks, and 45 strikeouts.

He’s made six starts this season. And he’s never pitched out of the bullpen before. But if there’s a move to be made that would seem to provide a clear step up on the pitching staff in Cincinnati, it would seem Santillan is the guy. Whether that happens anytime soon or not is another answer. If the team prefers to keep him starting for the time being then the move to the bullpen in the short term – even in more of a longer relief role – could be out of the question. But it seems quite apparent that among the guys in Triple-A, and even on the 40-man roster, he’s the guy that would help out the big league team more than anyone else in either role.

Hunter Greene keeps it going

Much like Tony Santillan, Hunter Greene has been outstanding this season. He entered Friday night’s start against Rocket City with a 1.91 ERA in 28.1 innings with 41 strikeouts and nine walks.

Friday night would mark the second time on the season that Greene would face Rocket City. He also squared off against them on opening night at home in Chattanooga. On the road this time things were a little bit different, but the results were still quite good.

The 21-year-old right-handed starter had a shutout going through 6.2 innings, but with two men on Izzy Wilson connected on a 100 MPH fastball for a 3-run home run. That would be the only damage against Greene on the night and it closed the Lookouts lead to 11-3 so it was hardly damaging for the team.

If he had recorded one more out it would have matched a career high in innings. Greene did set a career high with pitches, throwing 106 of them with 74 strikes in the game. In total he allowed seven hits, walked a better, and struck out 10 of the 28 hitters that he faced. The home run did bump his ERA up to 2.31 on the season in 35.0 innings. He’s allowed just 25 hits and 10 walks on the season, given up just two home runs, and he’s now sitting on 51 strikeouts while facing 137 batters – that’s a 37% strikeout rate.

While there are probably some things that are still learnable in Double-A for Hunter Greene, it may be better suited for him to move up to Triple-A soon if he continues to perform as he has. On Friday night he threw 45 fastballs that were 100 MPH or higher on the Rocket City radar gun. His slider is a plus or better offering. And while his change up is a third pitch in his repertoire, it’s been a solid offering this year as well. Everything he “needs” to learn in Double-A could also be learned in Triple-A, but there’s a better chance that hitters in Triple-A could also provide a bit more feedback as to what is and isn’t quite working and needs to improve before he reaches the next level.

16 Responses

  1. SteveLV

    It is really encouraging to see so many top prospects showing real capability – Greene, Santillan, Lodolo, Barrera – and add in Stephenson and India. Hope we get to add Senzel to that list at some point soon. Their success will ultimately determine the Reds’ success.

  2. Bred

    It seems to me Santillan should be called up and used in the pen. Green and Lodolo should be moved to Louisville and get ready to be used in a hopeful pennate race. The benefits would be huge bump in attendance, experience for the players, and maybe Nick sees this team could win and not opt out.

    • Doc

      Nick will opt out for the money; that’s what motivates contract decisions for these guys. Thinking it’s about rings is fool’s gold; agents don’t get rings, they get a percentage of the contract. They talk about rings, but it is all about the money, and he is max’d our in Cincy, just as was Bauer.

      Where did the three top FA SS go? Not to proven winning teams. The Reds were a playoff team last year yet couldn’t land a SS. It was all about the money and the Reds are played as pawns to pump up the money paid by other teams.

  3. Optimist

    Interesting comments on Santillan as a starter, and Greene (and Lodolo?) at the next level. Given their various strengths, I wonder if Greene is best suited for a spot in the pen? Seems like he’s best equipped for that, would hold down his workload for the rest of this year, and would still allow him to prepare for the rotation over the winter. Anticipating the need for starters, perhaps Santillan is next up for that spot, and Lodolo gets a spot start or two later in the season.

    Hope Finnegan can be of some use as well.

    • Doug Gray

      The only way I would put Hunter Greene or Nick Lodolo in the bullpen this year would be in August after they’ve thrown a lot of starters innings and have that base to work from next year. I wouldn’t even think about doing it before then.

      • Harold Morse

        I agree if anybody goes to the pen it should be santa

      • Doug Gray

        Santa’s a little bit old, but I do hear that he can freeze a hitter.

  4. MuddyCleats

    Had the pleasure of watching Greene LIVE for first time last night. Kid is certainly athletic and throws very hard. He also displayed a nice slider at times. I would have guessed 6-7 punch-out’s; I was surprised total was 10. FB maintained 97-101 all 6 innings. As mentioned, HR was on a 100mph pitch. I watched him warm up in BP behind the catcher and the first inning behind HP camera. I really didn’t notice his FB run, cut or move that much side to side, but he certainly over powered several hitters on the night. One of those was Tori Hunter Jr who’s Daddy stared w/ the Twins. Ex ML player Dalton Pompey Lead Off for the home team and made contact in all 5 ABs. Surprisingly, there was more hard contact than I expected which left me thinking, how would Hunter fair against an entire team of ML hitters? Does he have enough pitch variety? Greene was FB, slider all night; I didn’t see a change up or a yacker curveball by any means, but then again he doesn’t need it at this level. Nevertheless, isn’t this the time to work on things like this? Overall, the kid is well built and could add 10-20 lbs w/out any problem. His delivery was repeatable which gave him good control and most importantly it was EASY gas! He wasn’t jumping out of his shoes to hit a 100.
    Other players who stood out were: Rivas and Rey; both had speed and used it well. That’s always fun to watch and certainly something the Reds could use more of. Barrero certainly LOOKS like a #6 prospect: very athletic w/ good bat speed – his potential is obvious. Unexpected talent was Chucky Robinson! Fast twitch catcher who looks like he could or should be playing somewhere other than catcher. Tattooed a Dinger early, had another hit and 2 walks and was great defensively. Kid runs really well for a catcher!

    • Doug Gray

      There were a few change ups mixed in there. I don’t recall how many off of the top of my head, but I saw a few.

  5. ohiojimwalker

    I was most impressed with Santillan’s high heater on Friday. Watching on MiLBTV, a person could sense the “wobble” (technically spin I suppose) on it at real speed. At letter high and higher it was untouchable. A few he got down in the zone early were hit hard. However as the game wore on and he kept the lower ones at the very bottom of the zone it was working there too.

    He appeared to get stronger as the game wore on and was able to close out the 7th in a close game though showing signs of finally starting to run out of gas.

  6. The Rage

    Hunter looked vastly inferior to Sant on a developmental level

  7. Tony Cloninger

    Lodolo is not pitching tonight or tomorrow. Now WTH is going on with this? Can these teams not explain what’s going on at all?

    • Doug Gray

      Not really, no. The only people on the road trips are the trainers, coaching staff, and players. Media is not allowed to really have contact with the players/coaching staff. Information comes out much, much slower than ever because of this.

      But this one is easy to figure out. Lodolo left his last start with a blister. He probably still doesn’t have it completely healed up yet.

      • Tony Cloninger

        You’re right. I forgot completely. A I could have had a V-8 moment. Thanks Doug.

  8. Hoyce

    Lodolo left w blisters? Last start. Those things tend to linger