Before Greene's senior year at Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks, California, he committed to UCLA. Greene has become one of the nation’s best prospects through a series of trials early on in his life. Greene hasn’t succeeded in spite of his challenges; he’s succeeded because of them.
Greene’s early baseball memories include his first foray into pitching, for his Pony League team at age 7. Greene wasn’t his coach’s first or second choice to pitch and didn’t get on the mound until his team’s playoffs. He held his opponent in check that day, helping to extend the game for his team. The game went so long that it had to be moved to another field in deference to a previously scheduled game on the original field. Despite the move, and roughly a half hour off the mound, Hunter earned a victory in his first chance.
“He turned that game around,” recalls his mother Senta, whose husband, Hunter’s father Russell, had lobbied the Pony coach hard for his son to pitch. “That’s when I saw, for my own eyes, his character and who he was as a baseball player . .. For me that was turning point.”
It was also at that age that Hunter began working with Alan Jaeger of Jaeger Sports, a firm known for its resistance bands, long-toss program and for clients such as now-retired Barry Zito and Dan Haren. Hunter began training with Jaeger’s arm bands.
“He’s just been someone from a very, very young age to I’d say stay with the principles of what we believe in,” Jaeger said. “It’s very unusual, but it’s sort of how things work out. Because it’s unusual, it’s unusual who he’s become, you could argue. But it makes sense because he’s so unique in what he did at such a young age and now he’s a very unique byproduct of that.” (Hudson Belinsky - Baseball America - 9/02/2016)
Family is crucial to Greene, which was never more evident than when he was 11. On December 9, 2010, the Greene family watched as the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings took a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames. As the Greenes entered the Staples Center that night, Hunter noticed bruises on the arm of his younger sister Libriti, who was only 5 years old at the time. Hunter alerted his parents, and the Greenes decided to have Libriti examined by a doctor the next day.
When the Greenes received the results of Libriti’s examination, Russell heard a word that didn’t register with him at first: leukemia. He had to hear the word “cancer” before it hit him. Then Russell Greene had to pick up his son from school as his wife rode in the ambulance taking their daughter to a hospital.
“We got to the car, and then he broke down crying,” Hunter said. “And I let him settle down and then I asked him what was wrong, and he said that my sister had cancer.
“I just sat in the passenger’s seat banging on the car door, screaming and crying,” Greene recalled as tears began to engulf his eyes, the memory of the moment still powerful six years later.
For months, Libriti required intensive treatment. She ended up spending more than a year in the hospital, with at least one parent by her side constantly, as Russell and Senta took turns getting Hunter to and from school and baseball practices and games. Complicating matters further, Senta was pregnant with the couple’s third child, Ethan Greene, who would arrive in March of 2011. (Libriti was at one time taking 16 medications per day. She has been in remission for two years.)
The family got through it together, taking a difficult situation and making the best of it. That’s what Russell Greene did when a leg injury interrupted his football career. While he played in junior college and at Division II Humboldt State California, he had to develop a plan for life after football, and he got into the private investigation business.
Greene quickly developed a strong reputation among the legal community in Southern California. Before long, Russell had started his own business. One of his first big breaks came when attorney Johnnie Cochran hired him shortly after the O.J. Simpson trial. He now works with attorney Shawn Holley. Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan and Justin Bieber are some of Holley’s most famous clients. (Hudson Belinsky - Baseball America - 9/02/2016)
Hunter is multi-talented on the field and off it, taking lessons on violin and Korean.
February 26, 2017: 17-year-old Greene, MLB.com's No. 1 Draft prospect, hit a grand slam and struck out seven batters in a high school game.
April 26, 2017: Greene's coach at Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks, Calif. informed the team that Greene would not pitch again, even though he was 100 percent healthy, but would continue playing shortstop and throwing bullpens to stay in shape so that he could resume pitching in games this summer after the draft.
For the 2017 high school season, Greene made five starts and tossed 28 innings. He has allowed three earned runs, struck out 43 and walked four. In his career at Notre Dame, he has pitched 121.1 innings and recorded a 1.62 ERA (on a seven-inning high school scale). He struck out 30 percent of the batters he faced over his four years and 41 percent of the batters he faced this season.
The decision to shut Greene down on the mound follows a similar trend that has taken hold in football, where players such as running backs Leonard Fournette (Louisiana State) and Christian McCaffrey (Stanford), both projected first-round picks in the NFL draft, chose not to play in bowl games, in order to stay healthy and prepare for the draft.
The timing of the baseball draft makes this a rare decision. High school and college teams are still competing leading up to the draft, while the college football season ends months in advance of the NFL draft.
Hunter's upside on the mound makes him most likely to be a pitcher at the next level.
June 2017: Greene is in the conversation for being the hardest-throwing high school player in draft history, joining the likes of Tyler Kolek (2014) and Riley Pint (2016) from recent drafts.
No player heading into the 2017 draft arrives with as much hype as the 17-year-old Greene. He’s a lanky 6-foot-4 and 197 pounds, but is considered by some to be a generational talent. He carries a first-round grade as a shortstop, but many predict his future will be on the mound after the right-hander fired fastballs up to 102 mph this year.
The fact that he’s being considered for such a high draft pick speaks to his potential. Teams historically have been unwilling to spend such a high pick on prep pitchers, especially right-handers. Only three high school arms have been taken with the first overall pick, and all were lefties. Prep pitchers going second is more common, but only three high school pitchers have gone at No. 2 since 1978.
For a team to do something considered to be so risky – especially in the age of pitcher arm injuries – a player must be head-and-shoulders above his peers. Greene certainly has generated that type of excitement, as Notre Dame head coach Tom Dill knows well.
Dill has coached more than his fair share of eventual big-leaguers. He had Dickerson, shortstop Brendan Ryan and catcher Brett Hayes go on to lengthy big-league careers. His marquee alumnus is Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, whom Dill still calls Mike out of habit.
Stanton is another physical marvel who does things almost no one else can do. As a prep player, he generated but a fraction of the interest that Greene has, Dill said. Once Greene threw 102 mph in a January scrimmage, Notre Dame’s fancy field-turf baseball stadium became the center of the amateur scouting world.
“That’s when it got crazy,” Dill said. “Then it was GMs. I had a game where four GMs were at the game. I’d never had that before. I’d never met a GM, I don’t think.”
Greene probably always has been destined to be taken highly in the draft. He’s been baseball-focused since he could flash his age on his fingers, and Dill marvels at how the Greene family seems to have prepared for the frenzied attention the 17-year-old's talent would generate. Still, Dill couldn’t have predicted Greene would be this good.
Dill started Greene at short as a freshman and saw his talent there, but as a pitcher he was throwing in the low 80s out of the bullpen. But with each year came more ticks on the radar gun. The summer before his sophomore year, he hit 90 mph. As a sophomore, he hit 92. A year later came 96, and then the fateful 102 as a senior. It defies logic, but Dill isn’t so sure that Greene is done adding velocity. He’s never seen someone make such leaps when it comes to throwing hard, and doing it with such an easy throwing motion.
“You don’t usually keep going,” Dill said. “How hard can you throw? What’s the hardest you can throw? Does he throw 108 next year? I don’t know.”
Throwing that hard that young comes with a heightened risk for arm injuries, which is a large reason why Greene was shut down after just five starts this year. He hasn’t pitched in more than a month, and the 28 innings he produced as a senior will have to be enough for interested teams. (Zach Buchanan - email@example.com - June 10, 2017)
June 2017: The Reds chose Greene first round, behind only Royce Lewis, out of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California. And he signed for $7.2 million, just above slot value, via scout Rick Ingalls.
Hunter, who was clocked at 101 mph also is considered to have the media presence to be the face of a franchise.
Heralded as one of the game's top two-way Draft prospects in recent memory, Hunter had only shown what he could do with the bat until August 27, 2017.
The No. 2 overall pick in this year's Draft, Greene made his much-anticipated pitching debut with the club's Rookie-level affiliate, 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 2017 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." (Kramer - mlb.com - 8/28/17)
July 2018: Hunter represented the Reds in the All-Star Futures game.
In 2018, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Greene as the second-best prospect in the Reds' organization, behind only 3B Nick Senzel. That same scenario duplicated in the spring of 2019.
But with Senzel in Cincinnati, Hunter moved into the #1 slot in the offseason before 2020 spring training. He was at #5 though, a year later, early in 2021. And he moved up to #2, again in the spring of 2022.
Throwing fastballs outlandishly hard isn't the only thing Hunter can do. The fireballer also happens to be a talented painter and had some of his artwork featured in D.C. before the 2018 Futures Game.
Greene threw 19 pitches 100 MPH+ in the Futures Game.
Since 2008, there have been 4 teams that have NOT thrown that many pitches 100 MPH+. They are: Twins 1 Dbacks 3 Brewers 9 Indians 13.
The fireballer also happens to be a talented painter and had some of his artwork featured in D.C. before the Futures Game.
Jan 6, 2019: Hunter began playing organized baseball at the MLB Youth Academy in Compton, California, when he was 7 years old. He's been giving back to his community for nearly as long. According to Henry Brandon, who helped coach Greene's youth travel team, it's always been in Greene's nature to help others. For instance, when Greene was 12 years old, he could often be found helping the 10-year-old ballplayers with their drills, offering whatever insight and guidance he could.
That spirit of giving is what inspired the second annual Hunter Greene Baseball Fest. Nearly 150 campers, from 8 to 14 years old, gathered on a Sunday afternoon to take part in a free clinic hosted by Greene at the field of his youth. Participants received catching, pitching, hitting and baserunning instruction from an assortment of coaches and players, including several former and current professionals.
In addition to the drills and instruction, the clinic featured throwing and hitting skills competitions, from which five winners were selected to join Greene on a $500 shopping spree at Adidas. Those winners also received special gloves designed as a collaboration between Greene and Steelo Sports, a company that describes itself as the first and only modern-day, black-owned baseball glove brand.
"I always wanted to give back as soon as I could," Greene said. "Once I got the platform to do that and the experience and the connections with other players and coaches coming out to help me, I jumped on it real fast."
Greene, 19, is ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Reds' system and the No. 22 prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. Darrell Miller, vice president of baseball and softball development for Major League Baseball Youth Programs, was the director of the Compton academy when Greene played there. Miller spoke to the importance of having players like Greene return to the Youth Academy.
"Having Hunter come back and all the other guys that are here instructing with him that have come through the Academy, it means a lot to the kids who'll know and understand that this is the place to be," Miller said. "This is the place where they're going to get great mentorship and great coaching."
Among the Minor Leaguers who showed up to assist Greene was Angels No. 1 prospect Jo Adell, ranked the No. 15 prospect in baseball. Adell, a longtime friend of Greene's, made the trip to Southern California all the way from Louisville just for the clinic. He called the decision to come out "a no-brainer," in part because Greene came out to Louisville last fall to help with Adell's own clinic.
"We come from similar-minded families," Adell said. "They expect the best from us, and they're both big on community. Hunter has always gotten that. He understands that where he came from is the most important thing. He wouldn't be where he was without the people around this area."
Brewers outfield prospect Je'Von Ward and Rays first-base prospect Devin Davis, both of whom got their start playing at the MLB Youth Academy in Compton, were also instructors at the clinic. Ward recognized the significance of their participation.
"You never know when one of these kids will be in the same position as you," said Ward, the No. 25 prospect in Milwaukee's system. "We're closer in age to some of these kids, so they can look ahead, like, 'I could do that in a few years.'"
When addressing the campers, Greene emphasized the importance of listening as a way of learning and growing, both as a person and as a player. He also drove home the equal importance of choices made both on and off the field.
"Yes, you want to be able to perform on the field for the club," Greene said. "But the expectations are just as high off the field. You represent the team, and they're building a franchise around you, and they're trying to win a World Series. So they're picking the best players — but most importantly, the best people out there — to be Major League citizens." (S Wexler - MLB.com - Jan 6, 2019)
The 2018 season came to an end early for Hunter Greene, and not in the way you wanted it to. In mid-to-late July he began feeling something in his pitching elbow, and ultimately he was shut down with a partial tear in his UCL. Rather than opt for Tommy John surgery, Greene decided to give rehab a shot first. Things seemed to be going as planned, and in October he said he was 100% and feeling great.
When spring training began, he was throwing, and while he was a little behind the other pitchers, he was on target and working his way towards games. But in the final week of spring training he suffered a tear in his UCL – new damage to the ligament – according to Reds President of Baseball Operations. At this point Hunter Greene decided to undergo Tommy John surgery, which meant that he would miss the entire 2019 season.
Since 2018, Greene has hosted a free baseball camp in his native city of Los Angeles. On Jan. 17-18, 2020, Greene brought his camp from Inglewood and Compton to the Queen City. He hosted the Hunter Greene Baseball Fest presented by First Star Logistics in Cincinnati for kids ages 7 to 14.
The two-part camp began with a mandatory educational component the first night at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center followed by a session the next day featuring baseball skills and training at the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy. The Baseball Fest’s two-hour kickoff at the Freedom Center included an introductory talk, immersive tour and dinner.
“There’s so much rich history there at the museum and to be able to take it in was special,” Greene said. “I’m definitely going to go back so I can get the full experience. I think the kids really enjoyed it; they were really focused and locked in, which was great. I told them I was proud of them because it takes a lot of patience and discipline to sit there because I know they want to be out here on the field, but education always comes first.”
The second day's focus shifted to baseball. Participants were divided into a morning and afternoon session with lunch and pictures in between. The two waves of campers were broken down into smaller groups, and they went from station to station learning fundamentals and techniques for catching, sliding, fielding, hitting and pitching.
“The camp day is very busy,” Greene said. “I think what I value the most is being able to step back and see the kids bond with the other kids and see them either continue friendships or make new friendships. I think that’s what I loved the most about playing, and still do, is making connections and meeting new people. When I’m able to see the kids out there having fun and just enjoying the game of baseball while meeting new friends, that’s really nice to see.”
One of the highlights was a set of prizes Greene had prepared to give away. He had five custom-made Steelo baseball gloves on hand for some lucky campers to win. Two of the gloves were awarded to winners of a pitching accuracy competition. Two more gloves were given to the kids with the best pitching mechanics as judged by Marlon Styles, a Reds scout who was on hand to evaluate the youngsters. And the final glove was presented to Nile Fullman, who traveled the farthest to be a part of the weekend’s festivities, having made the trip with his family from Atlanta.
As an aspiring ballplayer who benefited from similar instruction as a youth, Greene has always had a passion to give back and provide kids the same type of experience he was given at the MLB Youth Academy in California.
“When I was at the Youth Academy, we had a lot of instructors come in and professionals work with us and it was very special. It was just a really good experience to have that, especially at a young age, because the other kids who weren’t at the academy weren’t fortunate enough to have that. They were playing travel ball or just at their local league. They weren’t getting special coaching, so for me to be able to do that with these kids and for them to be exposed to that is going to help them a lot.
“It’s about that foundation. Being able to see what this game expects form you at a young age, just so you know and are ahead of the curve compared to everyone else. The experience that you have and just knowing what to expect helps you a lot to navigate through there.”
It certainly helped Greene, who remains the top prospect in the Reds’ organization. The pitcher was sidelined for the 2019 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but he is currently feeling good and happy with his rehab and throwing progression. In the meantime, what Greene is doing off the field is impressive by any measure. And when you realize he’s just 20 years old, it truly puts everything into perspective.
In addition to the rare talent he possesses on the field, his maturity and the professional manner by which he carries himself is a testament both to his upbringing and what a special young man the Reds have.
“I’m very proud of him, the family’s very proud of him,” his father Russell Greene said. “He started his community service when he was 7 years old. Introducing him to book drives, toy drives and things like that which he would do within his community league back in Stevenson Ranch. He has fun with it. And he incorporated his teams when he did it, so he’s always been with his friends. And he still does it that way today. Now he just does it on a national stage and that just makes it even more fun for him.
“And he’s an exciting player to watch. He’s very passionate, very competitive. If he can stay healthy, which I believe he will, the Reds will be in for a treat.” (B Hader - MLB.com - Jan 22, 2020)
Greene was coveted in the 2017 MLB Draft for his triple-digit velocity. In a post on social media, the 20-year-old right-hander demonstrated surgical-like precision.
In a post titled, “Watch Ya Lips,” Greene successfully threw a baseball through a car that was moving between him and his catcher. Even better, the ball entered the white Tesla in the driver's-side front window and exited the passenger-side rear window and into the waiting glove.
Don’t try that at home, kids.
Greene was excited after making the successful throw. (No word on how many attempts it took.) He raised his arms as a small group of onlookers shouted with approval. (Mark Sheldon - May 18, 2020)
Hunter spent 2020 at the Reds’ alternate training site.
Feb 21, 2021: Greene has only 21 games of professional experience. Because of a right elbow injury, the right-hander hasn’t pitched in a game that counted statistically since July 26, 2018.
None of that has discouraged the 21-year-old Greene from his goal for this year, however. Greene, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, plans on reaching the big leagues, sooner rather than later.
“I want to be there this season. That’s solely my goal is to get there,” Greene said from Spring Training in Goodyear, Ariz. “I’ve worked extremely hard to put myself in the best position possible to succeed and to conquer that goal. And to not just get there, but to stay there.” Greene, the No. 71 overall prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline, is among 18 Reds prospects taking part in an early Minor League camp this spring, which gives him a chance to play in some Cactus League games should the club call him over for a day.
During the 2018 All-Star Futures Game, all 19 of Greene’s pitches registered at 100 mph or faster, and his top velocity was 103.1 mph. That created serious buzz, but within a couple of weeks, he sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Efforts to rehab without surgery were attempted, but he ended up undergoing Tommy John surgery in April 2019, after a tear was discovered.
When Greene was ready to pitch again in 2020, there was no Minor League season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Reds sent Greene to their alternate training site at Prasco Park in Mason, Ohio, which turned out to be a silver lining.
“The last year turned into a great experience for him,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Being able to pitch at Prasco worked out really well, because there was enough competition for him against Major League-caliber hitters where it was a challenge. But it was also controlled enough to where he was still a little earlier than he was now, as far as recovering from his injury.”
“For me, it was nice to go and get my innings, but my biggest takeaway was kind of learning more of the big league life and just the day-to-day work. Just kind of the expectations,” Greene said.
Greene believed he had a normal offseason with no lingering elbow issues. His velocity has returned to the triple-digit mph range. Since the injury, he’s made arm slot changes to put less stress on his shoulder and elbow.
“I feel like my fastball will always be there,” Greene said. “Obviously, I still need to throw it, because if you don’t throw it, you’ll lose it. But for me, my biggest focus has been making sure I try and perfect my secondary pitches as best as I can.”
Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart made it a point to pair up with Greene during his bullpen session. It was Barnhart’s first time working with him.
“He was like, ‘Hunt, let’s go. You’re with me.’ And I love that,” Greene said. “I think I was putting my cleats on, I definitely wanted to throw to Tucker, but he beat me to the punch.”
Barnhart had seen plenty of Greene pitching on video and social media. The in-person vantage point did not disappoint.
“It was impressive. I mean, his fastball is electric,” Barnhart said. “His willingness to learn and his want to learn was very evident. We had a conversation in between during the bullpen, and then he sent me a text about 6 or 7 o’clock at night, just thanking me and stuff like that. His willingness to learn and his want to get better is awesome to see.”
Bell did not rule out a potential call-up for Greene in 2021. (M Sheldon - MLB.com - Feb 21, 2021)
April 10, 2022: Hunter’s Reds debut will mark his formal introduction as a Major League pitcher, but to pinpoint the first time he was initially noticed inside the game, you’d have to go back 15 years. Throughout his childhood, Greene was a regular presence at many of Major League Baseball’s signature diversity-focused events and youth programs. His development was accelerated by having access to the state-of-the-art MLB Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., the first of 10 academies MLB has helped build across the country.
Greene’s journey to becoming a professional pitcher began in 2007, when he first stepped into the Compton Youth Academy as a 7-year-old. Coaches, noticing Greene’s advanced athletic gifts, were tempted to push him a bit, and allow him to work out with a group of kids two years older than him. Eventually, however, they decided to keep Greene with his age group. And from there the youngster took off, both athletically and academically.
Through the years, Greene, the Reds' No. 1 prospect, soared through several of MLB’s showcase youth events. In 2013, at age 14, he played in the RBI World Series. In '15, he participated in the Elite Development Invitational (now the Hank Aaron Invitational) and the next year, he was part of the High School Home Run Derby. In 2017, the year Greene turned 18, he played in the DREAM Series, a showcase event focusing on the dynamics of pitching and catching for a diverse group of high school elite athletes, predominantly African-American, during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.
Greene played in a host of other tournaments, including all-star games that pitted his teams against others from Australia and Japan. As a Compton Academy Junior Olympian, Greene traveled to Arizona to compete against top 13- and 14-year-old talent in the country. He was almost always the youngest player on the roster.
“For me, opportunities that were given to me at such a young age, like the Urban Youth Academy, the Elite Development Invitational, the Dream Series ... just being around the people and the event meant a lot to me,” Greene said during an interview with MLB Network in 2017. “It’s all about the opportunities. I really think that the people here, the players that are here can get that opportunity, that exposure, it’s definitely going to change their lives. Not just on the field as a baseball player, but as a person.”
Greene excelled academically, too. In 2013, his essay was picked as the winner of the prestigious “Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life” contest, developed in 1997 by Sharon Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s daughter.
Through the program, students were invited yearly to write about barriers or obstacles they faced in their lives and how they used the values exemplified by Jackie Robinson to deal with those obstacles. Greene, whose family at that time was coping with his sister’s leukemia diagnosis and treatment, wrote about struggling to stay focused during such uncertainty.
“The value of persistence was very important in this situation,” Greene wrote in his essay. “It got me through my struggles with my sister Libriti, who I love very much, while I was perfectly fine and out playing baseball.
“To me, persistence means finding a way to work through and stay focused during a tough situation, never giving up. My family helped me stay persistent with my athletic and academic goals, when in reality, we were not sure what was going to happen. I thought I was going to have to give everything up.”
Nine years later, Libriti is a thriving teenager, and her brother is on the cusp of the biggest moment of his career. Greene’s Major League journey officially begins, but for many in baseball who have known him since he was barely 7 years old, watching him debut for the Reds will be like saying hello to an old friend. (A Footer - MLB.com - April 9, 2022)
- MLB debut (April 10, 2022): During his debut against the Braves, Hunter routinely touched 102 mph and averaged 99.9 mph with his four-seamer.
His start was white-hot, and though he faded a bit towards the end of his outing and ended up allowing three earned runs in five innings, he kept a very good Braves offense in check.
It was good enough to take the win, though, which is quite an accomplishment for a rookie pitcher against the reigning World Series champions.
Greene touched triple-digits 20 times during his outing and struck out seven foes.
His stuff generated 14 swinging strikes, and didn’t have any notorious issues throwing strikes.
As long as his command helps him, he could, and should, be viewed as one of the candidates to win the NL Rookie of the Year award when all is said and done. (Andres Chavez)
Greene is off to a fast start in his first game back from the injured list. He struck out eight St. Louis Cardinals batters in his first three innings, throwing 30 pitches that topped 101 mph, the most for any game in the pitch-tracking era.
The previous record for most in a game was 26 by Jordan Hicks in 2019.
Eight of those strikeouts came on 101-plus mph pitches. According to MLB.com, no other pitcher in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008) has more than three in a game. (TheAthletic-Sep 17, 2022)
Dec 13, 2022: Greene, 23, routinely touched 101-102 mph with his fastball and developed his slider and changeup. It wasn’t all smooth throughout his 24 starts, and the right-hander finished 5-13 with a 4.44 ERA and a team-leading 164 strikeouts in 125 2/3 innings.
There were also 24 home runs allowed, including 23 before the All-Star break. But after working on sharpening his fastball location, Greene had a 0.78 ERA with 37 strikeouts over his final four starts — after returning from a right shoulder strain.
Here's a Q&A with Greene Greene about his offseason:
MLB.com: After throwing the most innings in a season of your pro career, did it feel different after the season ended to shut everything down for the offseason? How have you recovered?
Greene: Yeah. I’m ready to go. I actually started to play catch today. I have a really good program in place and feel great. That’s always a nice feeling coming out of a season and being able to get into your training. You’re feeling like you’re ready to go and really conquer the world.
MLB.com: With no injuries to rehab from, what’s it like to have a normal offseason?
Greene: It’s a great feeling to be able to put all of your focus and attention into the betterment of your game, and being able to level up is a great feeling. You don’t feel like you have obstacles to overcome just to get to a healthy part of your career. There’s a lot to work on and a lot to build off of.
MLB.com: What are you working on between now (December) and February?
Greene: I just started throwing, but obviously I want the consistency to my mechanics and making sure I feel good going into my bullpens and that all my pitches are working, and all that good stuff. I want to be well-rounded coming into Spring Training and healthy. (M Sheldon - MLB.com - Dec 13, 2022)
Jan 14, 2023: “When you’re up against a trouble, Meet it squarely, face to face; Lift your chin and set your shoulders, Plant your feet and take a brace. When it’s vain to try to dodge it, Do the best that you can do; You may fail, but you may conquer, See it through!”
That’s the poem “See It Through” by Edgar Albert Guest, which Hunter Greene referenced in his written note to 80 MLB DREAM Series participants in Tempe, Ariz. The DREAM Series is one of MLB’s many baseball development experiences designed to diversify the talent pool of MLB players, specifically pitchers and catchers. Greene participated himself in 2017.
“There's a whole bunch of stuff in the letter that I hope resonates with them,” Greene said. “But I added my favorite poem at the end, and it's about seeing it through and you're facing what other men have met, so just because you're going through something and you're struggling, there's other people that have gone through the same thing. They persevered so you can see. So that's the theme, that's the message and hopefully they understand when they can apply it.”
Greene hosted all of this year’s DREAM Series participants at his house in Mesa, Ariz., after the first day of the event, treating players to a taco food truck in his backyard and MLB: The Show in his living room. He also gifted the participants with a pair of Nike cleats.
Greene wanted to provide a different experience for players that have gone through similar MLB diversity initiatives like the Breakthrough Series, Hank Aaron Invitational and the Elite Development Invitational, in addition to the DREAM Series.
“I wanted to do something different,” Greene said. “Going through the DREAM Series, going through a bunch of other camps and events, the setup that everybody has is great — the guest speakers, the interactive exercises, whatever they do. But to do something different, where they have a current big league player to invite them into the home, to just have a laid-back cool experience, to keep it low key and to create a space that's welcoming and inviting, that was really what I wanted to go for. So I hope everybody enjoyed it and understood the importance of wanting to continue to pass the torch.”
Greene, who attended the Compton Youth Academy, attended plenty of MLB diversity initiative events during his amateur career, including the various Urban Youth Academy events, the Elite Development Invitational and the DREAM Series.
“I was touching on this earlier with Harold Reynolds, it's great to see all the mentorship and the coaching and the development,” Greene said. “But for me, I see the value in the relationships. I still talk to a lot of the coaches to this day that were here tonight because of the DREAM Series. To be able to have that relationship where I can easily call them or text them about something that I might be struggling with or trying to figure out, and they're ready to go and answer, it means a lot. For these kids that have the access to that, I hope they take advantage of it."
LaTroy Hawkins, who has helped out with the DREAM Series since its inception in 2017, emphasized the importance of a star like Greene coming back to the event and helping out.
“Early on, we still had guys that came through like Edwin Jackson and Chris Archer, but the [Dream Series] wasn't around when they were this age,” Hawkins said. “So having guys be able to come back who went through the program — that are on TV and the guys can definitely resonate with — is important. If you're going to really have some passion and be able to come and hang out and give these kids some of the wisdom that you learned along the way, that's what really matters.” (K Landry - MLB.com - Jan 14, 2023)
March 9, 2023: Reds manager David Bell named Greene the Opening Day starter. The 23-year-old tossed four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out three.
“It means the world,” Greene said. “It’s a huge honor considering the history in Cincinnati, the success they’ve had in the city. I take a lot of pride in it. It’s a huge honor, especially with the rest of the talent in the starting rotation we have.” (J Cano - MLB.com - March 9, 2023)
April 19, 2023: The press conference following Greene's six-year contract extension was wrapping up, but the 23-year-old had something to add.
"My family's here — my pops and mom, my brother and sister," he said. "Thank you, guys. Thanks for all the support. I didn't want to break down, but you guys have been amazing. The game is really difficult. There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes. So they've been here, obviously, from Day 1."
Greene's father, Russell; mother, Senta; sister, Libriti; and brother, Ethan; came from Los Angeles for the press conference.
"He's been really good about acknowledging those who supported his path," Senta said. "We did not anticipate that special nod to the family, but we're incredibly grateful for that. We're incredibly happy for him and the city. It's the next chapter in his life. It's a beautiful and exciting time. "We're all glad to be here for that we're here to witness it." (J Fay - MLB.com - April 19, 2023)
Who needs an ADT when you have wild animals roaming around outside your house? It would appear as though Hunter Greene has an updated, and hungry, security system outside his home.
Greene recently bought a house. His teammates, Graham Ashcraft and Nick Lodolo spoke about Greene's purchase during an episode of the Jim Day Podcast.
Greene's home is out in Arizona, and as many folks who live out there might know, it's not uncommon for some of the native wildlife to pay you a visit. Of course, most people who live out there are probably concerned about rattlesnakes, not mountain lions.
The Reds right-hander took to social media with a message for any potential burglars who may want to visit his home while he's away.
Greene posted a message that read, "If anyone is thinking about burglarizing my home while I'm on the road, good luck. Just be sure to let my security staff know you're on your way so we can put the animals away. Don't need any misunderstandings."
Greene's security cameras showed pictures of several wild animals roaming about on his property. It appeared to be a pair of mountain lions. Depending on where you live throughout the United States, you may refer to them as cougars, panthers, catamounts, painters, or pumas.
Regardless of what you call, they're certainly intimidating. It's probably safe to assume that when Greene returns to his humble abode that he'll be on spending his evenings inside and not on the back porch. (Drew Koch - Apr 27, 2023)
Sept 20, 2023: It's must-win time for Cincinnati as it battles for a playoff spot in the National League Wild Card race, and Greene was ready to meet the moment. He notched a career-high 14 strikeouts over seven innings, being the youngest Red to do so since 1967. (M Sheldon - MLB.com - Sept 20, 2023)
- June 2017: The Reds chose Greene first round, behind only Royce Lewis, out of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California. And he signed for $7.2 million, just above slot value, via scout Rick Ingalls.
- April 18, 2023: Greene and the Reds are in agreement on a six-year extension worth $53 million. The deal includes a seventh-year club option for $21 million.
|Birth City:||Los Angeles, CA|
|Draft:||Reds #1 - 2017 - Out of high school (CA)|
Greene is a righthander with a blazing 96-104 mph FASTBALL with some modest late life, exploding through the zone. It is very difficult to square up, unless Hunter gets it up in the strike zone and it leaves the yard — grading at 70, near the top of the scouting scale!
His 2-seam SINKER is kind of straight. He added a 90-93 mph CUTTER in 2020.
Hunter has a quality 83-86 mph SLIDER with hard, late three-quarters downer break (for a 60 grade) — that really took a big step forward in 2021 — and he can throw it for strikes or bury it down and away to righthanded hitters.
He also has an 84-86 mph CHANGEUP with fading and tumbling action that is a 45 grade. Greene doesn’t show much confidence in that changeup, but thanks to his fastball velocity it’s an effective chase pitch against lefties.
In 2021, Greene made quick work of Double-A batters, using his power repertoire to move up to Triple-A after just seven starts, a promotion that certainly provided more of a challenge. Every bit of Greene’s premium fastball came all the way back post-surgery, hitting 100-plus routinely and averaging close to 99 mph.
Overall, he located his fastball much more consistently and when it was down, it both missed bats and generated groundball outs, and he showed more ability pitching in with it. He got into trouble in Triple-A when he got too much of the zone without a ton of life, and experienced hitters did a lot of damage. His upper-80s slider showed improved bite and often flashed plus.
The right-hander will have to keep committing to throwing his changeup more. He mixed in some effective cutters as well, things that help give hitters a different look, and he can throw all of them for strikes. Now added to the 40-man roster, Greene is just about ready to see how his premium stuff plays against big league hitters. (Spring 2022)
- 2021 Season Pitch Usage/Avg. Velo: Fastball 54% - 99 mph; Slider 41% - 88 mph; Change 5.3% - 90 mph.
Hunter's combination of a very smooth, fluid delivery and easy to pick up release point means his fastball often doesn’t play to its velocity. When Greene is throwing his plus slider for strikes, the combination of it and his fastball can be diabolical. Hitters have to be looking for his fastball, so even if they recognize his slider, all they can do is watch it go by. His improved slider is still inconsistent. He has plus 55 0r 60 grade control to go with his plus stuff.
Greene proved he was healthy and ready to go in 2020. The premium stuff that made him such an elite Draft prospect and Futures Gamer was back on display at the alternate camp, leaving little doubt he’ll be back up to his triple digit fastball full-time. He flashed his plus slider, a future go-to out pitch and continued to work on feel for his changeup. Over the summer, he focused on the consistency of both offerings, both in terms of quality and landing them in the strike zone.
Greene also learned a new cutter, that could give hitters another look, though he’s yet to use it in a game that counts. He also learned a tremendous amount in terms of preparing and making a gameplan from the older pitchers at the alternate camp, something that should help carry him up the organizational ladder now that he has a clean bill of health. (Spring 2021)
Hunter's easy delivery gives him a chance for above-average control, though he’s pitched below that so far in pro ball.
Greene’s delivery and effortless velocity fit as a starter, but his repertoire needs work.
“There’s a lot to work on other than just velocity,” Greene said early in the 2021 season. “It’s great and a lot of guys are like, ‘Man, I wish I threw that hard.'
"But for me I’m trying to work on some other things—my secondary pitches, just more like pitch philosophy and understanding who I am as a pitcher and how I get guys out the best—just focusing on that is kind of my biggest takeaway.” (J.J. Cooper - Baseball America Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2021)
When healthy, Greene has one of the best fastballs in the Minors. A solid athlete who was a legitimate infield prospect as well, Greene repeats his delivery consistently, leading to very good command of his high-octane heater, though it had a tendency to lack life when he threw it up in the zone. His slider flashes plus and has the chance to be a true out pitch for him and while his changeup is behind the other two, there's some feel for it and confidence he'll be able to sell it well in the future.
Greene's rehab post-surgery has gone well, and the hope is he'll be able to work his way back to competitive pitching at some point during the 2020 season. The Reds will obviously proceed carefully with the right-hander, with the hope that a Greene who is 100 percent healthy still has the chance to be a frontline starter.
Scouts have worried that Greene’s clean delivery and straight fastball make it too easy for opponents to pick up the ball out of his hand. (Spring, 2020)
Hunter has feel for his pitches, adding to his physicality and athleticism. He is willing to come inside and keep hitters off the plate.
June 3, 2018: Hunter is in the win column. He recorded his first professional win as he matched his career highs with eight strikeouts in five innings for Class A Dayton. He issued one walk and carried a no-hit bid into the fifth inning before yielding two hits — one of them a solo homer — and finishing his outing with 77 pitches (46 strikes).
Greene's first win comes in his 10th start this season and 13th as a professional. The 18-year-old has understandably scuffled at times in his first full season while learning how to harness his easy triple-digit velocity and develop his secondaries.
Greene has shown improvement of late, as June 3rd's outing was the third straight in which he's allowed no more than one earned run while giving up four or fewer hits. (Rosenbaum - mlb.com)
July 15, 2018: Hunter has spent three games with the Rookie level Billings Mustangs and 16 in 2018 with the Class A Dayton Dragons. On paper, the 18-year-old might still look young and not quite ready for the Majors. But on the mound, during the 2018 All-Star Futures Game, Greene looked, um, quite strong.
Hunter was bringing the heat! Yes, 102 mph. And it wasn't only one. Greene threw 19 (19!) fastballs over 100 mph. You may need some sunscreen for that kind of heat! He topped out at 103 mph and gave up one run (White Sox prospect Luis Alexander Basabe somehow turned around a 102-mph offering for a solo shot.)
A few big league teams were also probably pretty jealous watching Greene's performance: Since 2008, there's been four teams that haven't thrown that many pitches 100 MPH+. Twins 1, D-backs 3, Brewers 9, and Indians 13.
That was a stat even Green was impressed with. "It's awesome to be in that company and be able to throw obviously that hard. A lot of work has gone into it: Staying healthy, doing the right workouts, eating right, all that stuff. So, for it to actually come through and happen is really special. That's awesome."
His 103-mph heater would be up there with Aroldis Champman and Jordan Hicks as the fastest in the Majors this year. Fellow Futures All-Star Fernando Tatis Jr., who singled off Greene, was in awe of the pitcher's arsenal.
"That guy's not human," Tatis joked. "He's on another level. Maybe I got lucky or something, but he should be in The Show soon." (Monagan - mlb.com)
In 2019, Greene was named the prospect with the "Best Fastball" by MLB Pipeline.
There may never have been a pitcher who generates triple-digit fastballs as effortlessly as Greene, who has a lightning-fast arm and a very athletic delivery. He worked at 100-103 mph in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game last July and sat in the upper 90s throughout his first full pro season, during which he struck out 89 in 68 1/3 low Class A innings.
March 13, 2019: Hunter might be the most famous high school pitcher ever, with a Sports Illustrated cover proclaiming him as "The Star Baseball Needs" in the midst of his senior season in 2017. He generated 100-mph fastballs more easily than any prepster ever has, went as early in the Draft as any high school righty ever (No. 2 overall) and received the highest bonus ever given to a prep arm ($7.2 million).
Greene's first full pro season in 2018 didn't go as smoothly as he or the Reds hoped. Low Class A Midwest League hitters pounded him for a 10.06 ERA in his first seven starts at Dayton before he made progress with his secondary pitches and started pitching inside more frequently. He logged a 2.63 ERA with a 63/13 K/BB ratio in 51 1/3 innings over his next 11 starts, only to strain his right elbow in late July.
Taking no chances, Cincinnati shut Greene down for the season. He didn't require surgery, got back on the mound in December, and reported early to Reds camp to get ready for 2019. He spent his first half-dozen bullpens just throwing fastballs and changeups before adding sliders and curveballs to his mix in late February.
"It's been going really well so far," Greene said. "The progression has been great. Just confidence-wise, I feel like I'm back. I'm confident with every pitch that I throw and focusing on my bullpens and the spots I need to hit and just kind of being in sync with my body."
Greene's 2019 season will start at high Class A Daytona. He said his primary goal is to stay healthy throughout the year, and he hopes to total 120 innings and earn a promotion to Double-A Chattanooga at some point.
When MLB Pipeline sat down with Greene at Reds camp in February 2019, he showed us the grips he uses on his four pitches and discussed how his repertoire is developing.
Greene is best known for his fastball and reached triple digits with it 19 times while peaking at 103 mph during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in July 2018. He creates his velocity with premium athleticism and arm speed, leaving him with a stress-free delivery that bodes well for his command and should help him stay healthy.
Though he sat at 97-100 mph with his four-seamer during his first full season, he learned early on that he couldn't just throw it by professionals. His heater has late life when he keeps it down in the strike zone but can straighten out when he leaves it up. He found more success when he started pounding hitters inside and added some deception.
"It was a little tough at Dayton at first because a lot of the hitters have really comfortable at-bats," Greene said. "I wasn't moving their feet; I wasn't throwing inside too much. Once I started doing that, it changed the game.
"I was also able to hide the ball more, I was a little bit more deceptive. Earlier in the season, I was opening up a little bit and just showing the ball early. I kind of learned those things and it helped a lot."
The biggest question about Greene as an amateur was his ability to develop a quality breaking ball. He didn't demonstrate consistent feel for spinning a curveball, and most evaluators thought he would need to concentrate on his slider as a pro. He has done exactly that, often using his slider as a put-away pitch. It usually arrives in the mid-80s and shows the makings of a plus pitch with sharp bite and good depth. His upper-70s curveball still gets too loose more often than desired and serves mainly to throw hitters' timing off because it’s the softest of his four offerings.
"My slider was my out pitch last year and it kind of always has been," Greene said. "To continue to perfect that and work on that is one of my focuses, for sure, as well as my curveball and being able to throw any pitch in any count."
Greene has less experience using his changeup because he rarely needed one as an amateur. His is still very much a work in progress yet shows promising life and separation from his fastball in the mid-80s. It did improve over the course of last season and, given his aptitude for pitching and athleticism, projects as a solid third pitch.
"I've done the four-seam changeup and stuff, but this two-seam circle change grip with the thumb under has kind of been the most successful for me," Greene said. "I didn't throw my changeup as much when I was in high school, but I started throwing it a lot more my first year and then a lot more my second year when I was with Dayton, just to get guys off my fastball." (J Callis - MLB.com - March 13, 2019)
2020 Update: Greene has 21 games of professional experience under his belt since he was the No. 2 overall selection in the 2017 MLB Draft. He was 3-7 with a 4.48 ERA in 18 games for Dayton in ’18. (M Sheldon - MLB.com - July 22, 2020)
In 2020, Hunter, back from Tommy John surgery, reworked his mechanics to shorten his arm path and alter his arm slot.
"It didn’t take too long for me to get into that slot, so it feels good,” Greene said. “All of my pitches are working, and I found a great arm slot and everything feels good. For me it’s definitely a new look, and it’s efficient.”
The Covid-19 shutdown bought time for Greene and the Reds.
“In a selfish way, it was good for me just because it gave me more time to focus on my pitches and really refine my stuff and master what I’ve been trying to work on," Greene said.
Oct 9, 2020: Top pitching prospect: Hunter Greene, RHP (No 2 in Reds organization)
Typically, there’s some rust a pitcher coming back from Tommy John surgery has to shake off upon his return. Greene had elbow surgery in April of 2019 and had last thrown a competitive pitch in July of 2018. The Reds knew he had worked hard at home on his rehab but couldn’t have been more thrilled with just how polished he looked.
“He came ready,” Pender said. “This was the first time he was on the field, competing. His ability to command and throw strikes was surprisingly improved for someone who had not pitched for a while.”
In addition to showing his usual power stuff, Greene has also added a cutter that gives him another effective weapon to go with his elite fastball and above-average slider.
“All of his pitches improved,” Pender said. “He did a great job on his own; he was facing batters at home. He made significant strides with the consistency of his strike throwing. Ultimately, the idea was to get him some competitive innings to get him ready for next year.” (J Mayo - MLB.com - Oct 9, 2020)
May 5, 2021: Reds No. 2 prospect Hunter Greene brought the heat during his first start for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts. He threw 37 of his 71 total pitches over 100 mph, topping out at 102 mph. Greene, MLB Pipeline’s 61st-ranked prospect, allowed just one run on three hits and struck out eight in five strong innings against the Rocket City Trash Pandas, the Double-A affiliate for the Angels. He outdueled the 10th overall pick from the 2020 MLB Draft, Angels No. 2 prospect Reid Detmers, for his first Double-A win.
Not only did the 21-year-old righty light up the radar gun, he also showed great control of his pitches, throwing 51 of his 71 offerings for strikes. Greene did not walk a batter and all three hits recorded against him were singles.
Greene made the most of his first game action since July 26, 2018. He missed all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery and trained at the Reds’ alternate training site last summer after the 2020 Minor League season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (N Aguilera - MLB.com - May 5, 2021)
May 17, 2021: In his longest outing in nearly three years, Greene sparkled as he twirled six scoreless innings, working around three hits and a pair of walks, while matching a career-high 10 punchouts to pace Double-A Chattanooga's 5-1 victory over the Montgomery Biscuits at Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium
June 17, 2019: Hunter's Triple-A debut had a little bit of everything: triple-digit fastball velocity, a bevy of strikeouts, a handful of mistake pitches and another glimpse into the Reds’ future. That’s what debuts are for.
In the electric first inning of an up-and-down start, baseball’s No. 56 overall prospect touched 104.3 miles per hour with a fastball to Ryan O'Hearn, according to his new team. He also yielded four solo home runs and a walk while and striking out eight over four frames in his first outing for Triple-A Louisville, a 6-5 loss at Omaha.
Greene started his night in a manner befitting the modern game with nothing but strikeouts and homers through the opening inning. The right-hander fanned Alcides Escobar to kick off his start before allowing a solo blast to left by Kyle Isbel. After rebounding with a strikeout of Emmanuel Rivera, Greene surrendered homers to center and left-center by O'Hearn and Ryan McBroom. The 21-year-old finished the barrage with a strikeout of Meibrys Vilora on his 29th pitch of the inning.
Touching 104 with his fastball in the first, Greene entered rarefied air. Since 2008, only five pitchers in the Major Leagues have reached that velocity, and three of them (Neftali Feliz, Tayron Guerrero and Mauricio Cabrera) have only matched it on a single pitch. Aroldis Chapman (67 times) and Jordan Hicks (12) are the only pitchers to do it more than once.
From there, Greene settled in. He retired the side in order in the second and minimized damage in the third, allowing a two-out homer to center by Rivera and following it with a walk to O’Hearn but fanning McBroom to wrap the frame.
Greene finished on a strong note by striking out the side in order in the fourth. In total, the 2017 second-overall pick threw 73 pitches, 46 for strikes. (Maun - mlb.com)
June 23, 2021: Sometimes a little can go a long way. In the case of Hunter Greene that meant mixing in a few more off-speed pitches to complement his triple-digit heat. It all added up to a scoreless start and the first Triple-A victory of his career.
MLB's No. 55 overall prospect struck out six and scattered two hits and three walks over five innings to lead Triple-A Louisville past visiting Indianapolis, 5-0, on Wednesday night. One start after reaching 104 mph with his fastball, Greene topped out at 102 while throwing 85 pitches, 52 for strikes. As the flamethrower explains, velocity only gets a pitcher so far.
"I couldn't care less about how hard I’m throwing," Greene said after the game. "If I’m getting guys out with off-speed stuff and all my pitches, it’s great. You can’t get by in this game with just a hard fastball. Being able to keep [the changeup] in the mix and keep those guys off balance is key. I continue to work on my secondary pitches and try and make those as good as my fastball. To be able to throw hard is great, but if you can’t produce other pitches in certain counts, it’s real tough to get these guys out." (M Avallone - MLB.com - June 23, 2021)
Sept 17, 2021: 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. (M Sheldon - MLB.com - Sept 17, 2021)
2021 Season: Greene made his first regular-season appearances since 2018 after missing time because of Tommy John surgery and the pandemic. He didn't disappoint; rather, he posted a 3.30 ERA and a 3.56 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 106 innings in 2021, with most of those coming in Triple-A. Greene still has big-time arm strength, but there've long been concerns about the pitch's lack of movement. He still needs to work on his command and his changeup, too. Greene's pure velocity and promising slider should help him survive until he can make up for lost reps. (R.J. Anderson - Jan. 10, 2022)
March 30, 2022: Hunter is going to the Major Leagues.
The Reds' top-ranked prospect was told he made the club’s rotation by manager David Bell and the club announced its decision. Greene, who is ranked as MLB Pipeline's No. 22 overall prospect, is scheduled to pitch on April 10, in a four-game series finale vs. the Braves.
“Oh man, I’m still at a loss for words,” Greene said. “I knew, but I had to keep it on the down low, which was tough. I told my family and a couple of friends. But man, like everybody says, it’s what I’ve been waiting for. A lot of work went into this.” (M Sheldon - MLB.com - March 30, 2022)
April 16, 2022: Greene threw 39 pitches of at least 100 MPH against the Dodgers. That is the most 100-mph pitches in a single game by one pitcher since pitch tracking began in 2008, according to Doug Padilla of the Associated Press. Greene’s mark is higher than the 33 thrown 100-mph pitches thrown by Jacob deGrom last June.
April 22, 2022: MLB Stats on Twitter posted that Greene had broken the record for most pitches thrown over 100 mph in a single game since the stat was first tracked in 2008.
May 15, 2022: Greene-led Reds became the sixth team in MLB history to throw a no-hitter and lose.
There are tough losses. And then there is the kind of loss the Reds suffered in this one.
Heartbreaking isn't the right word for a game like this. Rookie Hunter Greene, the much-hyped prospect with the blazing fastball, entered his start with a 7.62 ERA. It had been a challenging first five weeks in the majors for the 22-year-old, who had allowed 11 home runs — the most in the majors.
But there he was, throwing the game of his young life against the Pirates. He had tossed seven no-hit innings, breezing through the bottom of the seventh with two strikeouts to take his total to nine. He also had thrown 103 pitches. The odds of him finishing the no-hitter were slim to none. The most pitches any starter, let alone a rookie, had thrown in 2022 was 116. Only three others had even reached 110. Greene still had six outs to go.
Not only that: The Reds had also failed to score, so it was a 0-0 game.
The safe (and probably smart) move: Take the kid out. Let him finish on a positive note and earn a much-needed boost of confidence after a strong performance.
Reds manager David Bell sent Greene out for the bottom of the eighth.
"He pitched his way into having an opportunity to go nine innings, get a win, and a no-hitter. In my book, that's what it was," Bell said after the game.
There are two ways to look at the decision:
Props to Bell for, God forbid, letting his pitcher actually pitch. In the scope of baseball history — even recent baseball history — 103 pitches is nothing. With a couple quick innings, maybe Greene finishes with 125 pitches and throws a no-hitter (the Reds still would have had to score in the top of the ninth). With an extra day of rest before his next start, there are probably no issues.
There's a reason that this is something no other manager would have done. Like it or not, this is the way the game is managed these days. In the past 10 seasons, only two pitchers 22 or younger have thrown more than 118 pitches, Greene's final total: Julio Teheran had a 123-pitch game in 2013 and Jack Flaherty threw 120 in 2018.
So, there's room to defend Bell if you like, but it's certainly a questionable decision. Greene got the first out of the eighth on two pitches. Then he walked Rodolfo Castro on a 3-2 slider. Then he walked Michael Perez on seven pitches. Finally, the hook.
Bell didn't seem to second guess himself after the game. "Looking at it now, I think it would have to have gone really easy for him to go back out there for the ninth, but I think there was a chance he could have done it," he said.
But how likely was that, actually? Greene had averaged 14.7 pitches per inning through his first seven innings, so Bell should have been estimating at least another 28 pitches, which would have taken Greene to 131. The last pitcher 22 or younger to throw 130 pitches in a game was Matt Cain, way back in 2006. Was Bell prepared to let Greene throw 130 pitches?
Whatever his intent, after Greene left the field. Then reliever Art Warren walked Ben Gamel on four straight pitches to load the bases. Ke'Bryan Hayes hit a double-play ball to second base. But second baseman Alejo Lopez double-clutched on his toss to the shortstop and Hayes beat the relay throw to first as the run scored. The Reds went down feebly in the ninth and the Pirates won 1-0, just the sixth team since 1901 to win without getting a hit.
To put it another way: The Reds became the sixth team to lose without allowing a hit. We're less than two months into the season . . . but is it even possible for there to be a more depressing moment this year for a team that is now 9-26?
Note: It's not even an official no-hitter, because no-hitters must go at least nine innings. The Pirates, leading in the ninth, didn't bat in the bottom of the 9th inning. (David Schoenfield - May 15, 2022)
Sept 17, 2022: Eight of Greene’s first nine outs recorded were strikeouts, and the first seven of those eight were on pitches registering 101 mph or harder, according to Statcast. Greene became the first pitcher with more than three strikeouts of that velocity in a single outing in the pitch tracking era (since 2008). He finished with an audacious 8 of that variety, and a total of 11, setting a new career high. He threw 47 pitches of 100 mph or harder, breaking his own previous record by eight. (J Jones - MLB.com - Sep 17, 2022)
- 2022 Season: Stats: 5-13, 4.44 ERA, 125.2 IP, 164 SO, 1.21 WHIP
Greene finally debuted in 2022. The much-anticipated rookie season saw ups and downs, high strikeout numbers, and a promising second half. After posting a 5.78 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in the first half, Greene finished the season strong with a 1.02 ERA, 0.849 WHIP, and 13 K/9 in his final six starts.
Known for his 100 plus mile per hour fastball, his slider was the pitch that really will help him take his game to another level.
Baseball Savant: Greene’s fastball will always be his bread and butter. Learning how to effectively work off the fastball, mixing in his secondary offerings, will ultimately decide just how high his ceiling is. As you can see from the image above, batters hit .170 off his slider with a 38% whiff rate. His slider also recorded the weakest contact. As with any flame thrower, hard contact will happen. Catching hitters off guard will only happen if his secondary pitches are effective enough to keep batters on their toes. (Clay Snowden | January 11, 2023)
2023 Nastiest pitch in the Reds system — Hunter Greene's four-seamer.
In his second career start, the electric rookie set a pitch-tracking era record for the most 100 mph fastballs thrown in a game. By the end of the season, he'd broken his own record four more times. (D Adler - MLB.com - Feb 8, 2023)
Feb 15, 2023: Hunter Greene, Reds - Key stat: 30.9% strikeout rate
When your fastball has touched 104 mph and you have a devastating slider to go with it, it’s not a stretch to predict a breakout season. But since Greene, like any other rookie, went through some early growing pains last year — still managing to finish with a 101 ERA+ and 1.21 WHIP, not to mention a 30.9% strikeout rate. Maybe 2023 will be his breakout campaign.
As pointed out by my esteemed colleague, David Adler, Greene had an incredible run to close out the season in September and October, posting a 0.78 ERA with a K/9 rate of 14.5. Adler notes that Greene’s fastball got even better over that stretch, even after he set an MLB record in his second career start for most pitches thrown in a game in the pitch-tracking era with velocity of 100+ mph (39). The harder fastball, as well as more frequent elevation of the pitch over the final month or so of the season, made Greene nearly unhittable.
With the first-year jitters out of the way, and with what he showed late in 2022, Greene could be on the cusp of something truly special in 2023. (Manny Randhawa - MLB.com - Feb 15, 2023)
- Sept. 20, 2023: Hunter Greene had a historic day. He recorded the most strikeouts (14) in a game by a Red since 2000.
Aug 3-end of 2018 season: Greene did not pitch the rest of the season with Class A Advanced Dayton due to an ulnar collateral ligament sprain in his right elbow. Reds GM Nick Krall said Greene will strengthen his elbow at the Reds' Spring Training facility in Goodyear, Ariz., and try to avoid Tommy John surgery.
Greene, MLB Pipeline's No. 2-ranked Reds prospect, felt discomfort while throwing a bullpen session before a team doctor diagnosed his injury. The Reds hope the right-hander will be healthy for the 2019 season.
April 1, 2019: Hunter was on the IL with ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Greene needed Tommy John surgery. Reds medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek and Dodgers orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache arrived at the diagnosis. ElAttrache will perform the surgery next week, keeping Greene out for the season. No immediate timetable was known for a return to the mound.
April 2020: The good news for Greene is his rehab from surgery had been going well before the shutdown of baseball, and he was on track to pitch competitively some time during the 2020 season. Cincinnati will obviously be extra cautious with the 20-year-old right-hander.
August 2021: Hunter missed one August start with an irritated AC joint in his right shoulder, but returned to make five more starts.
Aug 4-Sept 17, 2022: Hunter was on the IL with right shoulder strain. "He's going back to get looked at and have an exam," Reds manager David Bell said. "It's serious enough to go on the IL but hopefully no more serious than keeping him out for 15 days then having him back so he can finish out his first season here strong. It was enough of a concern to take a closer look and just put a pause on things at least for the 15 days."
April 17, 2023: Greene's smooth outing came to a premature end after he was hit by a sharp grounder on the right leg in the top of the third inning. He was diagnosed with a right tibia contusion, but X-rays were negative.
June 18-Aug 20, 2023: Hunter was on the IL with right hip pain.
July 14, 2023: Greene reached Level 3 of his rehab program and is now throwing off a mound at the team complex in Goodyear, Ariz. The right-hander is doing a core stability program to strengthen his hips and back as a way to prevent future soreness, and he has one more step before he is able to start a rehab assignment. Manager David Bell said Greene is still on track for his originally projected August return to the big league club.
July 24, 2023: Greene has one more “little step to take that’s not insignificant” before a rehab assignment, but he’s “getting really close to reaching that last level,” manager David Bell said. Once he reaches that point, Greene will throw a live batting practice in Arizona and then start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville or High-A Dayton, Bell said. Greene reached Level 3 of his rehab program and is now throwing off a mound at the team complex in Goodyear, Ariz. The right-hander is doing a core stability program to strengthen his hips and back as a way to prevent future soreness.
July 28, 2023: Greene threw live batting practice to hitters in Goodyear, Ariz and reports were that it went well. His fastball velocity was 96-99 mph and he is throwing all his pitches. He's scheduled to throw two innings of live BP on Aug. 1 and begin a rehab assignment on Aug. 5 at Triple-A Louisville. He was transferred to the 60-day IL on July 31, but that won't alter his timetable. His estimated activation date is Aug. 20.
Aug 9, 2023: During his second rehab assignment start -- and his first for Triple-A Louisville -- on Aug. 5, Greene threw 46 pitches (27 strikes) over 2 2/3 innings. He allowed one earned run on one hit and one walk with one strikeout. The plan is for Greene to get at least two more rehab starts before being activated.
"I felt pretty good, not too bad, first game back. Still a lot to work on, but I'm getting closer," Greene said after returning to Great American Ball Park to check in with the team.
Aug 20, 2023: Greene, who pitched 5 2/3 innings in his final rehab start for Triple-A Louisville, came off the 60-day injured list to start for Cincinnati in the series finale vs. Toronto. The right-hander will have no limits beyond "common sense," manager David Bell said.
- Aug 31-Sept 10, 2023: Hunter was on the IL. with Covid-19.