Hunter Greene had his best start in Triple-A on Saturday night and it came against the team that had previously gotten to him. In back-to-back starts against Nashville earlier this year the Sounds kept Greene from completing the 5th inning in both games and scored 10 total runs (8 earned) in just 8.1 innings. He pitched well against Memphis to follow those two games, but returned last night to take on Nashville for the third time in his last four starts.
They say that the game is about making adjustments. Well that’s what Hunter Greene appeared to do. The 21-year-old kept the Sounds hitters off balance all night as he threw 5.0 shutout innings and allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out nine batters – the most he’s had in a Triple-A start this year (six starts). He only allowed one hard hit ball on the night – a controversial triple that appeared to hit the yellow line on the wall and come back into play. Nashville believed it was a home run, but the umpires got together and ruled it was indeed a triple, and the runner was stranded at third base.
Routinely hitting 100-102 on the night, Greene reached 103 MPH once in the game and induced 13 total swinging strikes on the night. That’s a big jump from his last two starts where he only had nine such swinging strikes combined.
Between the two stops this season that has now covered 13 games, Hunter Greene’s ERA sits at 2.90 with 94 strikeouts and 22 walks in 68.1 innings pitched. He’s given up 51 hits – including seven home runs – and held batters to a .205/.295/.329 line on the season.
TJ Hopkins keeps on hitting for Chattanooga
It’s been a good season for outfielder TJ Hopkins this year with Double-A Chattanooga. After having a solid season in 2019 following the draft with Billings, Hopkins has made a big jump up to Double-A this year. He entered Saturday night’s contest in Pensacola with a .306 average through 53 games. In a 2-1 game he came to the plate with a runner on in the top of the 9th inning and was still looking for his first hit. He got it. And it was one of the biggest hits he’s had this season as he hit an absolute laser over the left field wall for his third home runs of the season to put the Lookouts up 3-2. The bullpen would come out and seal the win a few minutes later as Chattanooga improved to 35-27 – the top spot in the Double-A South’s North division (that’s a confusing one, huh?).
For TJ Hopkins that home run raised his line on the season to .304/.372/.484 with 12 doubles, 6 triples, and 3 home runs in 54 games. He’s been getting better as the season has moved along, too. He posted a .716 OPS in May. In June he picked things up and hit .313/.397/.418. In July he’s taken things to an entirely different level. He’s hit .394/.462/.818.
Jose Barrero is heating up
After hitting well in Double-A Chattanooga in May and June, the Reds promoted shortstop prospect Jose Barrero to Triple-A on June 29th. In his first 10 games there he struggled a bit, going just 6-35 (.171). But then he left to go participate in the Futures Game in Colorado last Sunday and went 1-1 with a walk and a 428-foot home run. Since returning he’s barely missed a beat.
Jose Barrero has played in five games this week against Nashville and he’s had their number. Last night he picked up three more hits and is 10-19 (.526) with a double, two home runs, four walks, two hit by pitches, and four strikeouts. His OPS in the series is sitting at 1.535. He’s up to .296/.406/.537 with Louisville, and .299/.378/.495 overall on the season in 250 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A. Over at Redleg Nation on Saturday afternoon I speculated if his performance, among other things, could lead to the Reds not trying to find an improvement on the shortstop market as the trade deadline approaches in the next two weeks.
The bat flip of bat flips
On Friday the Dominican Summer League Reds won 12-6. In that game they dropped a 7-run 4th inning that saw the first eight batters of the inning reach. The fourth batter of the inning was 18-year-old Ray-Jacson Chirino and not only did he reach base, he reached them all on one swing as he clobbered a grand slam. It was his first ever home run (this is his first season) and he knew it the second that he got it and unleashed a bat-flip for the ages.