Top prospect Greene hits IP limit for 2021

September 17th, 2021

CINCINNATI -- Looking to be cautious with their top prospect, the Reds decided to shut down starting pitcher Hunter Greene for the remainder of the season with Triple-A Louisville. Greene is not injured, but he reached his projected innings limit for 2021.

Ranked No. 1 in the organization and No. 27 overall by MLB Pipeline, the 22-year-old Greene was 10-8 with a 3.30 ERA in a combined 21 starts and 106 1/3 innings between Double-A Chattanooga and Louisville.

“He had a soft innings cap and we wanted him to build off that,” Reds general manager Nick Krall said Friday. “When you figure that he also had a full Spring Training and a full month of pitching [at camp] in April, it was more than 106 innings. It’s the first time he’s ever pitched into September. He looked fatigued the last couple of times out.

“We wanted to do the right thing for him and his development. Fatigue leads to injuries and we didn’t think it was appropriate to go that far.”

Because of his ability to consistently reach triple-digit velocities, Greene was a sensation even before he was taken No. 2 overall in the 2017 MLB Draft. But he sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow during '18 and had Tommy John surgery in April 2019 to repair a tear.

Because of the pandemic, Greene was unable to pitch at the Minor League level in 2020, but he did compete at the Reds’ alternate training site in Mason, Ohio, last summer.

At Chattanooga, Greene was 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in seven starts. In only 41 innings, he struck out 60 batters with two home runs allowed. The right-hander did not fare as well for Louisville, as he was 5-8 with a 4.13 ERA in 14 starts. The 100-plus mph velocity was frequent throughout the year as he worked on his secondary pitches.

In 65 1/3 innings for Louisville, Greene walked 25 and struck out 79 batters. He also surrendered 11 home runs. After he pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings with one hit and 10 strikeouts vs St. Paul on Aug. 5, he was 2-3 with a 5.23 ERA over his final five starts.

“He had a great season. He was unbelievable in Double-A and pitched well at times in Triple-A,” Krall said.

The Reds did not mind that Greene experienced some failure at Triple-A.

“That’s what kids need,” Krall said. “They are trying to figure things out and how to be consistent to be able to pitch at this level.”

Greene is expected to have a normal offseason routine, but there are some big things ahead. He will be placed on the 40-man roster in November and will be in big league Spring Training for the first time in 2022.

“He will come in and compete and we’ll see where he is and go from there,” Krall said.