Earlier this week the Cincinnati Reds announced that Hunter Greene had made the big league rotation. Even though his outing last night was one full of struggles, he’s still going to be in the rotation. One of the questions that is on the minds of many is just how many innings Greene will be asked to throw in 2022.
Just 22-years-old, Greene is younger than most pitchers who have made their debut with the Reds in recent memory. But not just that, he’s also pitched much less than most guys his age. He was drafted as a 17-year-old and barely pitched that year between high school and as a professional with the Billings Mustangs. The next year he joined Dayton and pitched until the end of July, but his season came to an end there after tearing his UCL – he threw just 68.1 innings that season. He would miss all of 2019 after having Tommy John surgery. In the 2020 year he and all other minor leaguers missed the season after it was cancelled, but he did spend time at the Reds alternate site where he was pitching and accumulating innings.
Last season he returned to the mound and made 21 starts between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville where he threw another 106.1 innings. In total, since being drafted in 2017, Greene has thrown just 179.0 innings. That number is the official number, but it’s also not the real number. 2020 is missing from there, and Greene has noted that he threw about 100 innings in the year. Then there was last year, too. On the official record he threw 106.1 innings. But the minor league season didn’t begin until May 5th. Greene was throwing in April, it just wasn’t in games we were keeping official stats for. That was likely in the range of 20-25 innings worth that we won’t see when we log onto Baseball Reference.
Teams have been adding about 30-ish innings to the previous total for pitchers to build them up to a “big league” workload. Much of the reasoning for that is pretty flimsy, but it is where teams are at.
With Greene’s background out of the way, let’s tackle the question at hand: How many innings will he throw? Big league innings are different than minor league innings. You are probably going to throw some extra pitches there that you won’t in the minors because the hitters simply aren’t as good. Still, I think that Greene and the Reds are likely expecting about 150 innings to be “the number” for him this year if he remains healthy for the full year.
In the past that may have been well short of a full season’s worth of innings. But with how the game is played today, that’s about a full season’s worth of innings for a starter. The team may need to skip or push him down the line with off days here or there to get him to get through the entire year without shutting him down, but it’s feasible.
Updates on the injured pitchers
Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that starting pitchers Luis Castillo and Mike Minor, as well as infielder Donovan Solano will return to Cincinnati with the team out of spring training. But did note that manager David Bell said all will need rehab games before making their 2022 debut.
Nightengale also reported that reliever Trey Wingenter, who was in a battle for one of the spots in the bullpen, has been shut down. He experienced some elbow soreness and now will miss the beginning of the season.