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.

20 Responses

  1. Colorado Red

    This year, I would hope for 150 innings, and the number to go up next year.
    That seems reasonable.

  2. Maloney63

    Greene’s fastballs in and around the middle of the plate…and there have been a lot of them…are just getting pounded. Lodolo is a better pitcher right now and needs to be ahead of him in the rotation. I’ll be stunned if Greene gets to 100 major league innings this year.

    • DataDumpster

      Couldn’t agree more. The flamethrower always seems to get the highest amount of attention and perceived upside but that expectation is often inflated. There’s a lot more to pitching than that so give the guy some more time. He needs it and with the IP stats that Doug has brought out, it’s the only reasonable thing to do. We already seem to have about 5 pitchers injured or “not ready” before the season even starts, don’t risk what is perceived to be the top prospect.

    • Luke J

      Every pitcher’s fastballs around the middle of the plate get pounded. It’s called a mistake pitch for a reason. He does well to not make those mistakes most of the time, but as any rookie, he will definitely make them. His stuff is electric enough that he can get away with it more than others, but not much at the ML level. But if you listen to him, he understands these things and works very hard on them. I have no doubt he’ll keep working and developing, and quite frankly, with his stuff, the majors is the best place to do it, because he can’t get away with it there like he can in the minors.

  3. Mark A Verticchio

    I agree there is no reason for Lodolo not being in the rotation right now. I believe with the injuries he should be #2 in the rotation and even when everybody is healthy he might be no worse than #3.

    • Jon

      I have to believe that it is largely due to Greene currently being on the 40-man roster while Lodolo is not. Until they make other moves this week to address that (like all teams will end up doing), they will not announce anything until then. Now if the season begins without Lodolo on the 28-man roster, that will be absolute stupidity.

  4. LDS

    Greene was likely chosen over Lodolo because he’s more “exciting”. Having been hyped for 4-5 years and routinely throwing 100+ MPH will drive more attendance than Lodolo. Or, at least, I’d bet that’s what Phil C is thinking. My guess is that Mr. Marketing is even cheaper than dear old dad, thinking fans will buy if the product is packaged well.

    • Votto4life

      Well, Phil C. did say we should be excited about how the team has played in Spring Training so..

  5. Jon

    One of the Cubs beat writers just tweeted the following:

    “ Wade Miley felt left elbow soreness and got an MRI that showed inflammation. He’ll be shut down for 10 days, then will resume throwing after than and they will decide how to proceed after that. No timeline on when he’ll return, but IL list to start season seems obvious.”

    and

    “Ross said Miley didn’t feel soreness while actually throwing, but at different points in his delivery. Miley felt it even before his most recent live BP, which by all accounts went well. But soreness never went away with time so they got an MRI, saw inflammation & now he’ll rest“

    It’s still early, but the Reds front office could very well end up looking smart for not picking up Miley’s $10 million option.

    • old-school

      Miley was shut down in September and had an ERA over 8 after mid August. He was injured last year.
      Not bringing back Miley was fine. Letting him go for free was not. Spending 9 mil on Minor was not . If the Reds had made all those moves AND spent $150 mil to add to the club and simultaneous acquired young prospects then great.

      • Tom Reeves

        Maybe the Reds were ethical and declined to offer up an injured player in trade.

  6. Dan

    I’ll say if Hunter Greene stays healthy all year (knock on wood), he’ll get somewhere in the 125-140 IP range (majors and minors combined).

    As for why it’s Greene and not Lodolo, first of all, I don’t think it’s a big deal. We will see plenty of both up in Cincinnati this season, I think…

    But mainly, I think it’s b/c Greene is on the 40-man roster, and Lodolo isn’t yet. So you can bring up Greene and you don’t lose anyone else. If you call up Lodolo, you either have to waive someone off the 40-man (to add Lodolo to it), or find someone who is on the roster to put on the 60-day IL.

    They’re buying a little time, basically, before they have to decide who to cut or IL.

    • GR

      I agree. Greene and Lodolo are pure baseball roster moves. Greene is on the 40 man roster and Lodolo is not on it, yet. I would not read any more into it.

  7. doofus

    For years my understanding is that a 30% increase in innings pitched from the previous year is the norm.

  8. Votto4life

    I just hope the Reds don’t press him. Hunter Greene requiring a second TJ surgery would be a complete disaster for this organization.

  9. Rod Andrews

    I remember Jim Maloney, who threw in the mid to high 90s almost always throwing well over a hundred pitches a game, sometimes as many as 150, completing 20-25 games a year. Why are today’s pitchers so babied? I understand the high contracts, etc, but 90 pitches and your done for four days. Cant quite understand.

    • Jon

      I am guessing multiple factors are at stake here…

      A) Guys getting drafted often have more arm wear than ever before due to playing baseball year round instead of seasonally, sometimes starting before they become teenagers.

      B) Guys are throwing harder than ever before, hence the number of TJ surgeries every year.

      C) Analytics indicates a decrease in effectiveness when facing the batters a third time.

      D) The massive contracts you mentioned. Gotta protect the investments.

  10. Mike

    Today’s players are wimps. 5 man rotations (32 starts) instead of 4 MAN rotations (=40 starts). Average start for a starter: 5.1 innings. That is pathetic and would be considered a failure, if you asked Ryan, Maddux, Gibbons, Drysdale, Marichal, we could all go on forever. Todays guys get food, expert training and conditioning. Why in the world is 6 innings and 3 runs a “quality start”? That’s a 4.5 ERA! I wouldn’t want a starting pitching on my team if he had a 4.5 ERA at the All Start break. Have them throw 5 less pitches warming up before every inning, and you can increase the maximum allowed to 130 from 100 in the game.

  11. CFD3000

    I’d guess 150-160 for Greene. The bigger questions to me are – how much will he improve along the way? And will Lodolo be learning alongside him in Cincinnati or at AAA. I’m not the one to ask, but Lodolo seems closer to a polished pitcher than Greene, who still seems relatively raw. If both of them get a full 150+ with the Reds that will be really good news. It would mean that Greene has been effective and Lodolo has stayed healthy AND effective. That would be a huge boost for the rotation.