A leadoff bunt single. That was it. That was the only hit that Hunter Greene allowed all night as he fired a 7-inning complete game that was shortened by rain. Heck, that was the only base runner he allowed all night. The 22-year-old rookie didn’t walk anyone and he didn’t hit anyone with a pitch, and the defense behind him didn’t commit any errors. And that base runner he did allow? He was thrown out trying to steal second base on a strike-him-out-throw-him-out double play.

When the Cincinnati Reds selected Hunter Greene with the #2 overall pick in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft the expectations were high. The then 17-year-old was considered the top talent in the draft, had just been on the cover of Sports Illustrated, threw 100+ MPH with his fastball, and was also considered to be a 1st round talent as a position player. Things didn’t always go smoothly in the minor leagues along the way. Greene struggled out of the gate in 2018 with Dayton before turning things around after five weeks, where he was then dominant before he unfortunately injured his elbow. After trying rehab he would undergo Tommy John surgery in April of 2019.

But after battling back from surgery and working his was through both Double-A and Triple-A in 2021, Greene made the big league rotation out of spring training this season. And much like his start in Dayton back in 2018, things were a struggle early on. After five starts Greene had an ERA of 8.71 and he had allowed 10 home runs in 20.2 innings while walking 11 batters to go along with 29 strikeouts.

Since then he’s lowered his ERA by more than three full runs. In the six starts since then he’s had one 7.1 innings, no-hit start, powered a 3.41 ERA in 34.1 innings while allowing just five home runs, walked 13 batters, and he’s struck out 43. There were some hiccups in there, but overall he’s been quite good in that stretch.

Last night at Great American Ball Park all of that may have culminated in one of the best starts from a Reds rookie in a very long time. The rain allowed for him to pick up a complete game shutout in just 7.0 innings, but there’s a chance he could have gotten there without the rain, too. He had thrown just 87 pitches on the night and was brilliant in doing so.

How impressive was Greene last night? Let’s go to the record books and find out:

No pitcher in the modern era has thrown 7.0 or more innings and allowed no runs and one of fewer hits before July in their first season in the big leagues except for Hunter Greene. – Stats by STATS

Hunter Greene became the first rookie in the modern era to throw at least 7.0 innings and face the minimum number of batters while also having at least as many strikeouts as innings pitched. – Stats by STATS

He became the first rookie to throw 7.0 or more innings while facing the minimum number of batters since Rob Milacki did it in 1989. – ESPN Stats & Info

Hunter Greene became just the 7th pitcher since the start of 2015 to throw 7.0 or more innings and not allow a batted ball of 95 MPH or higher. – Sarah Langs

He joined Tom Browning and Si Johnson as the only Reds starting pitchers since 1901 to throw at least 7.0 innings and not face more than the minimum number of batters. – Joel Luckhaupt

It’s tough to do much better than allowing one hit in a baseball game, particularly when that hit went about 35 whole feet. Greene’s start had just about everything you want to see – he struck out a bunch of guys, he didn’t walk anyone, no one made hard contact against him, he controlled the strikezone. Every single thing seemed to be working for him on the night. At least to this point, it’s the best Hunter Greene we’ve had a chance to see at the big league level.

42 Responses

  1. scotly50

    The D-Backs loaded their line-up with left handed batters which plays into Greenes hands because right handers bat almost .300 against him and left handers under .200.

  2. Hotto4Votto

    Glad to see Hunter finding his groove. He’s gonna be special.

  3. old-school

    Yes we did.
    Soft contact- check.
    Pitch efficiency- check
    Zero walks- check
    8 K’s- check

    Greene had 8k’s and 0 walks but also got 13 outs via soft contact. That needs to be the focus- throw strikes, pitch for soft contact, be pitch efficient, and the K’s will always come.

    • Tom Reeves

      He was so dominating it was easy to under appreciate what was happening. And what’s funny is that the lead off bunt was probably to throw him off guard and all it did was settle him into a rhythm. I doubt he’s seen many, if any, lead off bunt attempts in his life.

      In his 22 year old rookie season, he’s been taken out of a game tossing a no-hitter and he’s tossed a 7 inning rainout all-but-bunt-for-hit perfect game. He’s 22. He had minimal innings in the minors and he’s 22.

      He has two MLB pitches and is working on a change up. Last night he was locating his fastball like Dr Manhattan rearranges atoms. He got more pitch efficient as the game went on – and I think that’s from growing confident in his choice to simplify things.

      He’s 22.

      And right now Ashcraft is even better.

      But I think we’re seeing the Dr Manhattan of baseball coming to life.

  4. west larry

    Greene threw a masterpiece, i was enjoying this game so much, i hated it when the sky opened and ended this game. Not only did Greene pitch brilliantly, but he had a very good defense behind him. I would like this line up every day, They fielded a excellent defensive outfield, and the infield was at least league average. i can’t wait for India and Barrios to return. i would like to see Aquino stay with the club when they get all their position players back from the d l, but I think he will be cut again. go reds!

    • MK

      Barrero optioned to minors after rehab assignment yesterday so I would not count on him soon.

      • Luke J

        That was just because he didn’t have a spring training and he needed a bit more warmup time than the 20 days a rehab assignment gives. Expect him to be up before too long.

  5. Jim t

    Really think Hunter is a special talent. At the Ml level you need to be a pitcher not a thrower. I think he is learning that. He varied the speed of his FB, changed locations and used his slider early in the count. My opinion he will only get better.

  6. Bred

    When Gooden came up at 19, he was an advanced pitcher for his day and overwhelmed hitters. Pitchers and hitters today are much better than in the 80s If Greene continues to dominate, he may raise the bar like Gooden did.

  7. RedsGettingBetter

    Greene should be working on his changeup, he offered a little bit much of them last night so if he can improve it in order to let doing damage to the hitters, he’ll be in a strong position to become a very tough pitcher to hit. The goal should be finish as a 3-pitch starter this season with two of them above average. Next season he could add a curveball or a sinker… it would be magnificent..

    • Old Big Ed

      I don’t know about a change-up for Greene. Verdugo, who had the big hit for the Red Sox on the only change he threw, said that Greene’s change is pretty much a lot of guys’ fastballs. In effect, then, it is a hanging slider.

      I suppose if he developed a change that had good sink to it, and always started it at or near the knees, then it would be pretty effective. He may just be better off developing a couple of variations of his sliders.

      • Jim Walker

        How about a circle change a la Soto and now Castillo.

        Start it low on the arm side and it will dive and run away from LH hitters and wrap around the ankles of RH hitters like a slider from a LH pitcher.

        Too bad we don’t have the kind of comprehensive speed data about Soto that is available today. I recall when he was coming up that not once but twice he was reported to have suffered a broken arm or elbow because he threw so hard. His career was nearly derailed before it got seriously started.

  8. Klugo

    He’s special. Dont even think about thinking about trading him.

  9. MBS

    My answer to the headline is no, we haven’t seen it yet. We’ve just got a glimpse. I don’t know if he’ll ever throw a perfect game, and I don’t care. I do think he will be dominate over an entire season soon, not just a game.

    • Doc

      We might even look back at this season come October and conclude he was darn near dominant nearly all year. Let’s hope he can back up this masterpiece with a solid start next time out.

      • Kevin H

        You wanted him sent down last week. As you said he “didn’t earn” anything it was given to him. I see this week your tune has changed. Will it change again next week?

      • MBS

        Greene didn’t earn it. I also wanted him down to *start* the year in AAA, then earn his way up. If Castillo, Dunn, and Minor were healthy Greene and Lodolo would have probably started in AAA, then pushed out Gutierrez, Dunn, or Sanmartin as the 1st month or so rolled along.

        Greene has shown poise on the mound, sure he’s taken some lumps, but it doesn’t seem to negatively effect him. I like the way Ashcraft came up better, but that might just be me.

      • DaveCT

        LDS, I’m going to disagree that Greene didn’t earn it. Watching him in spring training I was actually very surprised at how good he looked. AND, I was with you to start him at AAA. In particular, it was the improvement of the slider that won me over. I am normally adverse to having guys learn at the major league level. Nick Senzel is my prime example (learning CF after a few games in the minors). But I’d say Greene forced the club’s hand, much like India did last year.

  10. Linkster

    Greene looked really good last night. But, it was the Diamondbacks and he is far from any ROY talks. Stephenson is the star of the team (sorry Joey). Too bad he is not eligible for the ROY. That would be back-to-back ROY for the Reds, continuing their path to spending no money and hedging their bets on prospects.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      Who said anything about rookie of the year?

      • Oldtimer

        At this point in June 1959, the eventual ROY wasn’t even in the majors.

        Willie McCovey of the SF Giants was called up mid season and won ROY.

  11. Mark Moore

    I think we saw the best of Green we’ve seen so far. His poise and willingness to learn is pretty incredible for a very talented 22-year-old. So many of these young studs seem to be headed toward “head case syndrome” and don’t end up dealing well with their fame. Going back to the interview with his father and everything else we’ve seen and heard, it really doesn’t seem this is the case with Greene.

    We just may have found ourselves a unicorn … that’s a pretty special feeling. And he’s got friends who are also uniquely talented in the rotation (or pending return). I think that’s got to help in the long run.

  12. Frankie Tomatoes

    That was a real fun game to watch while it lasted.

    I checked baseball savant this morning and they confirmed it. He still has not thrown a change up to a right handed hitter all season. that has to change moving forward. The pitch has to get better too but if he is not ever throwing it to rightys then he is not going to reach his full potential.

  13. Steelerfan

    Does this end the “send him down to AAA to work things out” discussion? I admit I was considering the idea, but performances like this seem to suggest he does not need more AAA time, despite the disruptions of the last couple years.

  14. Jon

    Let’s hope the Reds actually try to build around Greene (and Lodolo and Ashcraft) instead of wasting away their years here like they did with Castillo. Add a few big name bats this winter and go from there.

    • MK

      I really don’t see teams money situation changing any for 2023. It is not like the attendance is up and don’t see a great increase in other revenues. Until the Votto contract is gone there is not going to be much change.

      • Indy Red Man

        Minor (9 mil) and Pham (7.5 mil) are on 1 year deals this year. If they trade Castillo & Mahle thats 12.5 combined. Justin Wilson is another 2.5 off the books next year. Plus Solano at 4.5 mil so thats approximately 36 mil right there. Free agency spending moving forward depends how the young guys progress and if they can get some immediate offensive/bullpen help for Castillo/Mahle.

        Of course 2024 frees up another $38.5 mil with Joey/Moose

  15. LDS

    I would say we did see Greene’s best THUS FAR. However, if he adds a pitch or two, doesn’t injure his arm in some way, and continues to develop, then I’m betting we haven’t seen the best he has to offer. Let’s hope we do.

    • Indy Red Man

      He’s such a big guy that I would assume he has a big enough right hand to throw the splitter. He’d be like a much more athletic Mike Scott out there! Then you add a change-up or something along the way and he wouldn’t even have to throw it for a strike. Just show it to them occasionally

      • Jim Walker

        I agree Greene needs to develop at least one 2 seam based pitched. Maybe it is a full splitter or maybe a sinker but one of the two.

      • Old-school

        I like the change up. It’s easy on the arm. Throw it down in the zone as a chase pitch that slows bat speed and disrupts timing on 99 mph. He needs a soft contact ground ball pitch. There was a line of thinking with Homer Bailey that his splitter is what hurt his arm. Thats where Derek Johnson needs to earn his money.

  16. Kevin H

    Special talent for sure. I think he can only get better. Getting a 3rd pitch, or trusting his change up more. The dude is indeed something special.

  17. Michael B. Green

    The rain gods came in and ruined David Bell’s plan of pulling Greene at the 100-pitch count. One baserunner on 87 pitches. Great job, Hunter! Great job, rain gods!

    • Droslovinia

      I was thinking the same thing. The game looks a lot better before Bell goes fishing through the bullpen to see who can best blow it.

  18. Joey Red

    A special talent without question. But this is the Reds so he will be trade bait eventually. The Reds aren’t interested in long term players because they don’t want to pay them. It’s their small market mentality.

  19. DaveCT

    I am going to make the argument of extending Castillo to lead and build the staff around, particularly Greene and Ashcraft, and let the last two slots work themselves out among Lodolo, Williamson, Abbott, Boyle, Bonnin and others (I’d add Lodolo as part of the core but he’s yet to prove durability *at this level* ).

    Watching Castillo and his deadly change — who better to mento Green than that? So, I’d say, sign him for five years, trade him in 2-3 years for a haul.

  20. VaRedsFan

    He looks like a clone of Jacob Degrom.
    JD is a 3 pitch pitcher
    Fastball 57.6%
    Slider 33.5%
    Changeup 8.9%

    I’d mimic one of the best.
    I was thinking a split finger change of pace. As long as the split doesn’t cause more arm stress.
    Whichever he can command the best would be my answer.