On Friday night Hunter Greene took the mound against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. The Chattanooga Lookouts starter tossed 6.0 shutout innings with two hits, six walks, and he struck out nine batters. You can actually watch the outing here if you are interested. It was his 7th start of the season. It lowered his ERA on the year to 1.98 as he moved to 5-0. Greene also raised his league-leading total of strikeouts to 60 in 41.0 innings where he’s only allowed 27 hits – two home runs – and 14 walks.
Sunday morning Hunter Greene was on the move. Literally. While the move is not official yet, sources have confirmed to me, and to Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer that Greene indeed is moving up to Triple-A Louisville and will be joining the team on their road trip to Omaha this week.
The move up to Triple-A for Hunter Greene gets him one step closer to the Major Leagues. This is important for a few reasons. With the protocols that are still in place, calling someone up from a level lower than Triple-A becomes a lot tougher of a process because only at the Triple-A level would a player called up not have to go to the big leagues and isolate themselves for a period of time before joining the big leagues. Triple-A is working with different rules than the lower levels and a player called up can immediately join the big league team.
The other thing that could be, but may not be as important, is what Triple-A hitters can teach Hunter Greene. Obviously he’s going to learn something in nearly every start. First is the fact that he’s only got 113.2 innings under his belt in games since 2017 – so the experience is a bit limited and he’s probably seeing things often enough that is a “first”. His stuff was simply too dominant for the Double-A level hitters on a consistent basis. That may also hold true for Triple-A, too, but the only way to find out is to promote him and see.
Generally speaking, Triple-A has fewer “top prospects” in the league. It’s tough to know how true that is for 2021 at this point because teams may be playing guys there for the previously mentioned call up protocols. But what Triple-A has always had more of were those veteran, former big leaguer, been-around-forever types of guys. And there are still a lot of those guys around. They can make a pitcher work. They can, typically, make adjustments a little quicker because they’ve been around and seen a lot of stuff over the years.
Hunter Greene is just 21-years-old. He has not faced a single batter that’s younger than he is this season. In fact, he’s only pitched in two games in which he faced a hitter that was younger than he was and both of those game while he was in Dayton back in 2018. Facing older hitters is nothing new if the barometer is “older than Greene”. And maybe it’s not going to matter much as the 100+ MPH fastball, low 90’s slider, cutter, and change up could simply be too much for most of the guys in Triple-A, too. But it’s also more likely that Triple-A is going to have more hitters who can do something against Greene and have to have him make some sort of adjustment than the hitters in Double-A would, and did.