It was a long time coming for Hunter Greene to get back on the mound in games that counted. He would have returned at some point in the summer of 2020 as he returned from Tommy John surgery, but a cancelled season led to a delay of his return until May 5th – 1014 days after his last start in a game.

While Greene certainly would have liked the game to have come sooner, those watching must have felt it was worth the wait as the then 21-year-old righty struck out eight batters without a walk and gave up just one run over 5.0 innings at home against Rocket City. That was just a taste of what Greene was going to do to the Double-A South. His next two starts came against Montgomery and he allowed two runs over 11.0 innings with three walks and 17 strikeouts.

The next four starts would also be the final four starts for Hunter Greene at the Double-A level. He would throw 25.0 innings and allowed just six earned runs (2.16 ERA) while walking 11 batters and picking up 35 strikeouts. After throwing 6.0 shutout innings against Pensacola on June 11th, Cincinnati promoted Greene up to Triple-A Louisville.

The first start at the top level in the minors did not go the way that Greene would have liked as he allowed four home runs on a windy night in Omaha. He would rebound at home in Louisville against Indianapolis the next time out, throwing 5.0 shutout innings with six strikeouts. Things, however, didn’t go well in back-to-back starts against Nashville where he allowed eight earned runs in 8.1 innings that included six walks.

Over the next month, though, Greene put things together as he allowed just six earned runs over five starts and 27.1 innings – including a 1-hit, 6.1 inning performance against St. Paul that included 10 strikeouts. But his next start was skipped over before he returned against Gwinnett and after giving up just two home runs in the 40.2 innings over his previous eight starts, the Stripers homered three times in just 2.2 innings against Greene.

Following the start against Gwinnett, Greene came back with two strong starts against Indianapolis and Nashville where he allowed just one earned run between the two games. Indianapolis would get a little revenge against Greene the next time, though, scoring six runs on eight hits and a walk in 4.0 innings on September 7th. The final start of the season for Greene came five days later, also against Indianapolis who was seeing him for the third time in three weeks. Greene gave up just one earned run in 4.0 innings and picked up three strikeouts in the game to complete his season.

For all 2021 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Hunter Greene Scouting Report

Position: Right-handed pitcher | B/T: R/R

Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 230 lbs | Drafted: 1st Round, 2017

Born: August 6, 1999

Fastball | A plus pitch that has better velocity than any fastball in professional baseball. It routinely would work 100+ and he reportedly touched 105 this year.

Change Up | A pitch that is mostly shows up against lefties, it did show improvement in 2021. An average offering that works in the upper 80’s.

Slider | A plus offering that is much harder than it used to be. Prior to 2021 he threw a slider in the low-80’s, but now the pitch works in the 87-90 MPH range.

Cutter | Added in 2020 when he was pitching at the alternate site, the pitch works in the 89-92 MPH range.

When Hunter Greene is on top of his game he’s nearly unhittable. He’ll bring two average offerings to the table and two plus to plus-plus offerings to the table. And he can do it while throwing all of his pitches for strikes.

In 2021 he battled some inconsistency at the Triple-A level. The more advanced hitters were able to take advantage of some mistakes that guys in Double-A couldn’t. Still, despite being the youngest player in both leagues he was in almost the entire year, he dominated at times. With missing time due to Tommy John surgery, and then missing the 2020 season – though he did pitch at the alternate site – in terms of time on the mound, he’s still behind so many pitchers his age in terms of experience. The learning curve he’s shown despite that has been impressive.

The change up is a pitch he will need to continue to improve and likely mix in a little bit more often as he continues his progress up the ladder. The control is ahead of the command at this point in his career, but both the control and command should improve in time – and his control is already at a good spot.

Interesting Stat on Hunter Greene

Greene allowed just three hits all season to hitters that were younger than he was. All three hits were singles. Of course, he only had 13 plate appearances all year against players who were younger than he was.

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16 Responses

  1. Jim

    Even with a Great ST, I doubt he starts season in Cincinnati, but I wonder what his innings limit will be.

    • MBS

      With Miley gone, the 4, and 5 spots are open for competition. Gutierrez should have the inside track, but I would think Greene is a legit contender. I would be happy to see San Martin start (assuming he looks good) the season in the rotation. We know Greene, and Lodolo are destined for spots at some point.

  2. SultanofSwaff

    A generational SP talent…..I’d sign him to an 8 year deal right now. Really, Chapman is the only comparison but I think Greene has more pitching IQ.

    The problem—if winning (er, making money) actually matters to this organization, is that you need to lock up the pieces around Greene. Otherwise, he’s just a circus sideshow act. I’d like to think the Red’s attendance issues have taught them the lesson that none of their marketing wizardry can replace consistent winning baseball. This offseason will be quite telling…..

    • MK

      Not sure I would sign any pitcher to an eight-year deal. Wayne Simpson and Jack Armstrong were both in similar positions to Greene and after an All Star first half rookie season, they never reached that level again.

      • Old Big Ed

        You are correct in not wanting to sign a long-term deal with Greene. Neither Simpson (1970, at age 21) nor Armstrong (1990, his third season, at age 25) were power pitchers like Greene is. Both had just over 6 K/9 at the All-Star break.

        I’ve forgotten Simpson’s injury, although I think it was his shoulder. He had 147 IP at the break in 20 starts. That would never happen now, but it was ridiculous even in 1970 for a 21-year-old. Johnny Bench always glowed about Simpson’s ability.

      • Optimist

        Simpson and Armstrong are not comparable. The better comps are Simpson, Nolan, and Gullett – and consider if MLB had today’s approach to pitcher health then, what the BRM would have been. Considering their stats, Nolan and Gullett are essentially HOF pitchers that just had short careers due to now-avoidable injuries and improper workload. Simpson’s injury was perhaps less avoidable/more serious, and such that he didn’t even get in several years.

        And Bench’s opinion, though closest to the action, was pretty much a consensus view.

    • Alan Horn

      Agree to all comments on 8 year deal for a pitcher. Let him pitch until he is a FA or injured.

  3. MK

    Interesting that Hunter is closer to big league ready than #1 pick Royce Lewis who has had his development retarded by injury issues as well.

    • Old Big Ed

      2017 has not yet turned out to be a great draft. MacKenzie Gore was the third guy taken, by the Padres, and he still has not yet made it, either. All three top picks are still young, though, plus it’s probably too early to close the book on that draft, especially given the 2020 shutdown.

      Trevor Rogers (3.2 bWAR) and Tanner Houck (Fred Sox, 2.9 bWAR) are the best of the top five rounds. Rogers I think has also been hurt.

  4. Tom

    I would preach patience with Greene. His trajectory is most similar to Bruce. Crazy good tools, an obvious call up to MLB in a time of need, yet some imperfections that if not fixed will linger.

    Most would be surprised, disappointed, etc if he were to pitch most of 2022 in AAA, but if that’s what it takes to learn then I’m ok with that. Not saying it’s the likeliest path, but it seems plausible. I’d rather see that than Greene struggling through 3-4 innings 90-110 pitches with only two pitches working that day. Ending up with a 4.80 era or something. Wasting a year of service time. Etc.

    That said I’m not betting against the kid, he’s got it all working in the right direction.

  5. Mike in Ottawa

    In my opinion I think Greene needs to start the season in Louisville. How many times did Hunter pitch 5 IP or more? If that is all we can expect, they better us the money saved by Castellanos, Miley and Barnhart to bolster the bullpen.

  6. Optimist

    I’d split the difference in Tom and Mikes’ comments – the Greene call up is early June 2022 – 6-8 starts in AAA, 50ip, no glaring flaws. A pretty rigid 100 pitch count limit at both levels. Wasn’t it Strasburg who got shut down in the pennant run due to innings limits – same approach here.

  7. Danny

    Doug,

    I see that you reviewed by analysis of his slider and change-up!

    I am certainly glad you agreed with my analysis, and I certainly hope that I did not lead you astray. Very exciting prospect!

    Obviously you have read my scouting analysis of Hunter, but you might want to take another look at what I have told you about his fastball… can be very straight at times without much late movement.