Wednesday morning saw the news get out that three rookie pitchers had been informed that they will be on the opening day roster. Left-handed starter Reiver Sanmartin, right-handed starter Hunter Greene, and right-handed reliever Dauri Moreta all were told that they made the big league roster, with the latter being reported by Hector Gomez of z101 Digital in the Dominican Republic.
With Hunter Greene there’s a different level of fan excitement. The second overall pick in the 2017 draft – on the cover of Sports Illustrated when that still meant something, 100+ MPH fastballs, the following along his minor league career, etc. Fans have been waiting to see him come up and make his debut for years now, even if it wasn’t entirely realistic to expect it before maybe late last year.
For the most part, Greene has been dominant in his minor league career. But that career that started back in 2017 has really only been two seasons of pitching. In 2017 he barely pitched after the draft. Greene pitched with the Dayton Dragons in 2018 and after a tough start to the season he went on a dominant run until late July. That’s unfortunately when problems arose and he wound up tearing the UCL in his pitching elbow.
He opted to try rehabbing the injury instead of getting surgery, and for a while things were going well. But in the final week of spring training in 2019 he re-injured the UCL and would undergo Tommy John surgery. That would cost him all of the 2019 season. In 2020 he showed up to spring training with new mechanics, and while he wasn’t going to begin the season with a team as he continued to work his way back, it didn’t matter as the 2020 season would be cancelled. But the Reds did bring Greene to their alternate site where he would continue to pitch.
In 2021 he got to get back into games and pitched well in both Double-A and Triple-A with a few hiccups with Louisville, but still posted an above-average ERA while being one of the youngest pitchers in the league. Getting more than half of a season in Triple-A set him up to head into spring training and truly compete for a job. During the offseason he spent time working on his change up – a pitch he has had in the past but one he didn’t have as much confidence in as his other two offerings – and has been using it more this spring than in the past. It’s helped him take that next step in his development and it’s paid offer as he’s now made the rotation out of spring training.
The home crowd in Cincinnati is going to have to wait a while before they get to see Hunter Greene pitch, though. Assuming that the rotation holds, Greene wouldn’t start in Cincinnati until the weekend series against St. Louis on the 22nd or 23rd (there’s an off day prior to the start of the series so the team could push him back a day if they wanted to as a way to potentially buy a day when they can to preserve innings on the season).
Reiver Sanmartin got his feet wet in the big leagues late in 2021. With the Reds needing another starter it was the lefty who was called up for the final week of the season. He allowed a single run in each of his two starts – both coming against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sanmartin went 2-0 and struck out 11 batters in his 11.2 innings.
Unlike Greene, Sanmartin wasn’t a hyped prospect. He joined the Reds organization as the much less heralded player in a trade with the Yankees (the one that included Sonny Gray). The lefty pitched well after joining the organization, though. After a solid 2019 season split between then Advanced-A Daytona and Double-A Chattanooga, and then missing the 2020 season due to the cancelled year, he returned to Chattanooga to begin the 2021 season. That stay was short as he allowed one earned run in 18.0 innings before he was promoted to Triple-A.
While in Louisville, Sanmartin spent some time in both the rotation and the bullpen. Over his first 15 appearances he found plenty of success with the Bats, posting a 3.33 ERA over 51.1 innings where he walked just 10 batters and struck out 52. But his 16th appearance was one to forget as he allowed seven earned runs in 5.0 innings. It was merely a blip on the radar as he rebounded the next five times out, posting a 3.46 ERA in that span before being called up to the big leagues.
Unlike Greene, Sanmartin isn’t blowing a fastball by guys at 100 MPH, and his slider doesn’t leave hitters flailing. The lefty has solid stuff, but nothing that leaps off of the scouting report at you. What has helped him be successful is the whole package of his pitching. His arm slot and the fact that he hides the ball well help his stuff play up a little bit. That he generates ground balls at a high rate help him limit extra-base hits. That he doesn’t walk batters keeps guys off of the bases. It’s a recipe for success if he can carry it forward into the big leagues.
Like Sanmartin, Dauri Moreta spent the final week of the regular season in 2021 with the Reds at the big league level – debuting a day before Sanmartin did. Also like the lefty, Moreta found success over the final week. The reliever pitched in four games and allowed just one earned run in 3.2 innings while striking out four batters.
Throughout his minor league career, Dauri Moreta had pitched well with the lone exception of the 2018 season. That year he split time between Billings and Dayton as a 22-year-old and posted a 6.79 ERA. The Reds stuck with him, though, and promoted him to then Advanced-A Daytona and he rewarded them in a big way by posting a 2.35 ERA in 57.1 innings for the Tortugas. Things got even better after the missed 2020 season. Moreta went to Double-A and posted a 1.35 ERA in the first half before being promoted to Triple-A Louisville. During the second half he allowed just two earned runs in 26.1 innings with the Bats before he was promoted to Cincinnati.
A three pitch reliever, Moreta works with a fastball, slider, and a change up. His fastball works in the mid-90’s and can touch 98. He leans on the pitch frequently, but will mix in the secondary stuff at times. He’s missed a lot of bats throughout his career. With little else to prove in the minors he’ll now get his opportunity to stick in the big leagues moving forward.