The Reds aren't quite yet ready to let elite prospect Hunter Greene follow in Shohei Ohtani's 2-way footsteps.
Greene, who was selected No. 2 overall in the 2017 Draft, will stick exclusively to pitching, at least for now. However, Reds senior director of player development Jeff Graupe told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi that the team isn't "closing the door on developing him offensively," either.
The Reds' No. 2 prospect, who is also ranked No. 21 among all prospects, will make his season debut with Class A Dayton on Monday against Lake County to take advantage of his strong spring momentum. The 18-year-old consistently hit 97-100 mph with his fastball in the Cactus League, showing why he's already so highly regarded on the mound.
"He was fantastic," Graupe said. "Beyond just the fastball, his command really improved. I thought he did a great job on improving his slider, and his feel for his changeup took off as well. He was throwing as well in Spring Training as we could have hoped."
In the Pioneer League last year, Greene batted .233 (7-for-30) with two doubles, a triple and three RBIs in seven games as a designated hitter for the Billings Mustangs. On the mound, he logged 4 1/3 innings over three starts, giving up seven runs (six earned) on eight hits and a walk while striking out six.
Greene pitched just 28 innings as a senior at Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) High School and 121 over four years in his prep career, so he'll have his pitch count managed closely this season.
"This year is really all about transitioning to pro ball," Graupe told MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis during Spring Training. "Obviously, we want our guys to go out and perform and learn lessons every day. From my seat, it's all about creating a plan to maximize his value to Cincinnati. The goal is to have him pitch deep into the season and experience the end of the season. Even if he's not pitching, to experience what fatigue is like at the end of the year."
The initial plan was to curb Greene's workload by having him begin the season in extended spring camp in Arizona and join Dayton at some point after April, but that changed after the organization saw him pitch in Spring Training.
"There's an obvious workload limit that will come into place at some point," said Graupe. "It could either be in April or in August at the end."
Greene will be on an overall season-long pitch limit, rather than an innings limit, though the Reds haven't specified the target number.
"There's a range we want to get him to," Graupe said. "What we'll have [Dayton manager] Luis Bolivar and [pitching coach] Seth Etherton doing the whole way is communicating with him, seeing how he's feeling and then aiming at that target."