Cincinnati Reds top 10 prospects for 2019

GOODYEAR, AZ - FEBRUARY 20: Nick Sennzel
GOODYEAR, AZ - FEBRUARY 20: Nick Sennzel /
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4. Hunter Greene, RHP

Birthday: 8/6/1999 (19)
Acquired: Draft, 1st round, 2017
Level(s): low-A Dayton
Statistics: 3-7, 18 GS, 68 1/3 IP, 4.48 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 7.8% BB, 30.3% K

Before the 2017 draft, there were questions whether Hunter Greene would play shortstop or pitch as a pro. Nearly every major league team wanted him to pitch, the Greene wanted a chance to try his skills with the bat as a pro, and the Cincinnati Reds allowed him to do so after making him the #2 overall pick in 2017.

That only lasted 7 games and 30 plate appearances as a DH in his draft year. He realized that hitting as a pro was going to be significantly more difficult than pitching, and he chose to focus his work on the mound.

Greene has some of the most easy velocity you could see, but even with his seeming easy delivery, he ended up spraining his elbow ligament, and he needed a PRP injection in 2018 and missed a huge chunk of the year. He is on track to be ready for 2019’s opening day.

The development path for Greene will be slow and steady as he’s incredibly athletic, but his fastball had such velocity and life that he rarely used anything else in high school, so he’s still building up his offspeed stuff. His slider took a huge step forward in 2018, and if he could see similar development in his curve and/or change, he could be one of the elite pitchers in the entire game.

An interesting comparison made during All-Star week as Greene’s big velocity stole the show in Washington, D.C. was to current Nationals ace Max Scherzer who came to the majors with a fastball and not much else but now has multiple plus pitches that he can use in game due to his athleticism and willingness to work with coaches to improve.

Most likely, Greene will open in Dayton again, with quick movement up to Daytona at high-A, but it’s not likely that he pushes forward to upper minors in 2019 as the Cincinnati Reds will take their time with Greene.