Heralded as one of the game's top two-way Draft prospects in recent memory, Reds No. 2 prospect Hunter Greene had only shown what he could do with the bat until Sunday.The No. 2 overall pick in this year's Draft, Greene made his much-anticipated pitching debut with the club's Rookie-level affiliate
Heralded as one of the game's top two-way Draft prospects in recent memory, Reds No. 2 prospect Hunter Greene had only shown what he could do with the bat until Sunday.
The No. 2 overall pick in this year's Draft, Greene made his much-anticipated pitching debut with the club's Rookie-level affiliate on Sunday, tossing 15 pitches, nearly all fastballs sitting in the upper-90s and touching triple-digits. It was his first live action since being shut down in April ahead of the oncoming Draft.
"He was 99 and 100 [mph]," Mustangs pitching coach Seth Etherton told MiLB.com. "That's what I had on our gun here. He averaged 100 in terms of all his fastballs. He had a max of 20 pitches. We're going to slowly build him up. He'll pitch again in five days, and I think the pitch count will go up incrementally from there. We're just going to break him in slowly, he's been doing a great job and getting accustomed to pro-ball lifestyle."
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Greene, touted for impressive command for an 18-year-old, completed just one inning, but he made the high-profile impression most had envisioned. After giving up a leadoff single, the right-handed flamethrower, ranked No. 21 on the Top 100 Prospects list, induced a fielder's choice to No. 8 Brewers prospect Tristen Lutz, picked him off at first, then punched out 17th-ranked KJ Harrison looking.
"He just turned 18 and there's a lot of room for growth and strength," Etherton told MiLB.com. "That'll come with time. He threw one breaking ball that he kind of left up, but he really doesn't need to use it now. We'll see what happens in the next start, maybe he'll start mixing in some other pitches.
"He was dominant," Etherton said. "I think all [of the pitches] were at the knees. His ability to repeat his delivery and direction downhill, it was very impressive for a young man of his age. He's very poised very competitive and he's fun to watch."
Having already donned the cover of Sports Illustrated with the hype and marketability as one of the more eccentric Draft prospects this year, Greene had been widely recognized as one of the top talents among the 2017 crop. He likely would've been a first-round pick for his bat alone -- he's 7-for-30 with two doubles and a triple in rookie ball -- though he was selected for his pitching ability, and was given a record $7.23 million in an above-pick value bonus by the Reds upon signing.
At Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif., Greene went 3-0 with a 3.75 ERA this spring. He hit 101-102 mph in some showcases, and mixes in two breaking balls. Scouts are reportedly apprehensive about the spin he generates on his slider but believe it will at least be average at the MLB level. Greene didn't use his changeup often in high school, but he has the ability to go to it when needed.
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.