We’re a little under a month away from the start of spring training and the words pitchers and catchers arrive in Goodyear can’t come soon enough for this particular writer. One of those pitchers is Hunter Greene. MLB.com’s David Adler wrote about how Greene is the young ace to watch for in the upcoming season.

There’s a lot of stuff in the article from Adler, so you should be sure to check it out, but a main focus is on how Hunter Greene’s fastball progressed over the course of the 2022 season. His usage changed on the pitch, as did the movement, showing the best velocity, spin, and rise in the last month of the year – which also coincided with dominance where he allowed just two earned runs in his final four starts while striking out 37 of the 90 batters he faced.

One thing that wasn’t really mentioned in the article was how the change up also took on a different look. But the difference in the change up was a lot more drastic than the one that the fastball took.

In April through July the change up averaged 89.8 MPH with 6.2 inches of horizontal movement and 6.7 inches of vertical movement. From August 1st through the end of the season it averaged 91.5 MPH with 7 inches of horizontal movement, 3.32 inches of vertical movement. The pitch was thrown harder, had a little more horizontal movement, and nearly 3.5 inches more “sink” to it. Greene still didn’t throw the pitch all that much, throwing it just 6% of the time, and of those change ups only one of them was thrown to a right-handed batter. That’s how many he threw to right-handed hitters from April through July, too (while throwing 89 to lefties).

Matt Reynolds clears waivers

Infielder Matt Reynolds was designated for assignment last week when the Reds signed pitcher Luke Weaver and needed to clear a spot on the 40-man. Today he cleared waivers and was outrighted to Louisville. He can choose to remain with the organization or he can opt to become a free agent and see if there’s a better situation out there for him.

Four Reds make the Top 100 Prospect List

The Cincinnati Reds have a pretty strong farm system. You can trust me on that one. But if you look at Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect list you’ll only see four Reds prospects, and only one of them – shortstop Elly De La Cruz – cracked the top 50. Eight organizations had more prospects make the top 100 list than Cincinnati did, and four teams – including the Cardinals and the Pirates within the division – had as many as the Reds did on the list. Infielders Noelvi Marte, Edwin Arroyo, and Cam Collier also showed up on the list.

Having top end guys is usually what separates the top farm systems from the others. Cincinnati has some of that, but it’s the depth that really makes the farm system stand out behind the few teams at the very top. Fangraphs released their Reds prospect list last week, and the player that they rated #2 in the organization didn’t make the Baseball America Top 100 and was rated as the #7 guy in the organization by Baseball America. Opinions are going to vary on a prospect-to-prospect level, but the depth is strong no matter how you want to slice it.

Of course, the depth had better be strong given just how much big league talent that the Reds organization has traded away in the last 12 month.

38 Responses

  1. Rednat

    i really believe the pitching will be there for the reds when and if we ever decide to spend real money on position players. I actually think we do a pretty decent job of developing pitchers and resurrecting the careers of older veteran pitchers. now position players, that is another story

  2. MK

    Many of the game’s best/hardest throwers did not become great until they perfected their number 2 pitch. For Koufax and Ryan, it was their breaking ball, similarly Randy Johnson. I think it was Joe Morgan who said he could time a jet plane as long as it was coming straight.

    • MuddyCleats

      Agree. Hunter’s plethora of FB usage takes a lot of gas! His slider was very good at times, but I’d like to see him cut the FB some or sink it w/ a 2 seamer and of course develop his change up more. Once he learns to do that, he’ll start getting weak contact outs on 3- 4 pitches and last much longer n games and recover faster between starts. Same w/ the Lodolo. He doesn’t use the outer half of the plate much w/ a FB running away or a good dead fish vs the Power RHH

  3. SultanofSwaff

    After watching Hunter’s interview on MLK day and being a follower of his on Twitter I think the average Reds fan doesn’t quite get the esteem baseball views him and where he’s headed from a marketing perspective. Generational talent aside, his maturity is beyond his years. It’s probably not a stretch to assert that with a good season he might be one of the top faces of baseball by the end this year.

    • David

      I haven’t seen that interview or followed on Twitter, but from other interviews, I would agree 100% that he is a very intelligent young man, and very articulate. I think his intelligence is something that will set him apart as far as learning things quickly and adjusting his stuff. The smarter players that I recall are the ones that really rise to the top. Greg Maddux comes to mind, as does Joe Morgan and Johnny Bench. Sandy Koufax was also a pretty smart guy, really. I do remember some of his interview, and he had a pretty deep understanding of what he was trying to do.

      His father (Hunter) was interviewed last Spring when it was either his debut or his appearance in Atlanta (early in the season). His father also comes across as a very thoughtful guy, very proud of his son.

    • DaveCT

      Generational talent and generational leader.

    • Redsvol

      totally agree. If Hunter can stay healthy, the sky is the limit. You can tell that he is a worker, and willing to be coached and study his craft – The opposite of Homer Bailey.

      As Reds fans, we really ought to be more excited about the talent that has arrived recently and the talent that is coming. We had 3 very good rookies arrive in 2021, 4 extremely good ones last year and another 4 (including Steer who didn’t qualify last year) likely arriving and producing this year.

      This is really rare in the game of baseball for 1 team to have that many rookies arriving in that short of time and all producing. We need to have health and we need to have patience and we need to enjoy their development – which means not focus so much on wins and losses. In 2-3 years we could really have something in Cincinnati.

  4. Mark Moore

    I’ll echo the thoughts that his maturity seems far beyond what we would expect or have seen from others. Barring serious injury, I think we’ll se some significant steps forward from him in 2023. At least I really hope we do. He’s one of the few current reasons to watch any games closely.

  5. LDS

    It would be nice to see him have a season like a Gibson/Gooden/Maddux type season. That would be something.

    • Harry Stoner

      In 1968 Gibson started 34 games and pitched 28 complete games.

      And he jammed with Denny McLain on the Ed Sullivan show.

      Playing what? A Gibson guitar, of course.

      I’d go for that.

      Or maybe just not watching the bullpen cough up 6-8 good starts from Greene.

      • Optimist

        Gibson also was not replaced by a reliever in mid-inning. Pinch hit for a few times, but the manager never took the ball from him on the mound. That won’t be repeated ever again.

      • LDS

        Maddux is a more realistic goal. He had a couple ERAs in 2.00, seldom had more than 10 CGs, and never 300 IPs, etc. Achievable even in today’s game, although likely not with Bell. But, Greene is a long way from that kind of pitcher, but we fans can dream. Right now, I’d settle for a Don Gullet, age 23 season with more SOs.

    • TR

      That would help to reclaim the upcoming 2023 season in what has been labeled a throwaway season.

  6. Doc

    Not quite understanding what you said about Greene’s slider. The article says that in the first half of the year the vertical movement was 6.7” vertical break. Then in the latter part of the season the vertical break was 3.3”. But in the next sentence it says his slider had nearly 3.5” more sink, but the numbers (6.7” early in year, 3.3” later in season) would appear to say there was 3.5” less sink, not 3.5” more sink.

    • 2020ball

      Thats his change up he’s talking about, but yeah I think those numbers should be flipped.

    • Old Big Ed

      Yeah, I think 20-20 is right and the numbers got transposed. Otherwise, the late season change that Doug describes is not as good as the early season one.

      It’s hard to proofread your own work.

    • Doug Gray

      There’s some confusion here because of how this stuff works. Non-breaking balls don’t actually “sink” in the way that a breaking ball does. They simply rise less due to the angle at which they are leaving the hand, some spin, and gravity.

      Here’s a good example: A sinker and a 4-seam fastball both “rise” when you look at the movement of them without taking into consideration the arm angle of the release and the gravitational forces on it. But your typical 4-seamer will have about 10 inches of movement on the vertical plane (in an upward fashion – without accounting for the gravity and arm angle of release), while the typical sinker only has about 5 inches of movement on the vertical plane (again, in an upward fashion). When we talk about the differences between these pitches, the sinker has 5 inches more “sink” to it, even though both pitches are rising.

      With specifics to Hunter Greene’s fastball and change up, here’s a chart showing the average movement with the numbers I posted above:

      The lower the pitch in the chart, the more “sink” it has, even if it’s on the “positive numbers” on the vertical plane. As you can see, the difference in the movement from 1st half/2nd half (which was just easier to fit on the chart, when it’s really April through July and then August through the end of the year) is minimal, but there’s a small difference. The difference in how the change up is moving, though, is very, very different. Two completely different looking pitches. The second half one has less rise, which means more “sink”.

      Hopefully all of that made sense.

      • Redsvol

        It’s a confusing subject , thx for explanation and chart Doug!

      • Old Big Ed

        I had to read it about 3 times, but I follow it now. I know that it isn’t your formulation, but it feels a bit like the Boeing 737 MAX flight control system, where the computer fought what the pilot’s prior training would have him do. Up became down.

  7. Melvin

    “Of course, the depth had better be strong given just how much big league talent that the Reds organization has traded away in the last 12 month”.

    That’s for sure. lol

  8. Old Big Ed

    Greene is 100-1 to win NL Cy Young.

    • Gonzo Reds

      With no offensive support and no bullpen Greene can be great but still at best a .500 W/L record so might as well be 1000-1.

      Speaking of bullpen see even the Royals are spending a little money in that area signing Chapman for 3+M$. When we’re being outspent by even the Royals and Pirates you know we have a corrupt ownership group that just doesn’t care about winning.

      • Greenfield Red

        They do care about winning. They have no path to winning last year or this year. They have a good catcher, a good 2b, 3 good starters, and a couple of good relievers. That’s it. Everyone else would have to be replaced or religated to a much smaller role in 22 or 23 to have a legit chance

        They would have had to sign 4 or 5 top free agents to have any shot at winning.

        And before you say that’s because they traded everyone away, I’ll remind you that only 1 or 2 of those did anything after leaving Cinci.

        All the 2015 and 2016 trades for major league ready talent and the money wasted on the 2020 free agents doomed the Reds to a lengthy rebuild.

        This is really the fault of Jocketty and Williams.

        If they don’t spend significantly in 24 and beyond, I’ll agree. For now I think you are not correct about ownership.

      • Doug Gray

        You can’t win if you don’t try. That’s why there was no path to winning last year or this year. It’s entirely the fault of ownership, who won’t spend enough money to consistently try to win.

      • Melvin

        “When we’re being outspent by even the Royals and Pirates you know we have a corrupt ownership group that just doesn’t care about winning”.

        Good point. Still say with all of the prospects and very low payroll it’s the perfect time to sell in the near future. Big Bob & Son MUST KNOW by now that’s what most fans want….them outahere.

  9. old-school

    Greene and Ashcraft(MLB+AAA) both through 130 + innings in 2022. AShcraft was gassed at the end. Lodolo was only about 115. I would assume Greene is good for 160 innings and no innings limits? Would be very good to get these 3 healthy and strong and durable for all 162 games.

  10. Stock

    Greene and Strider both have a chance to supplant deGrom as the best pitcher in baseball in 2023. Both were spectacular last year.

    Greene’s season turned around in the second half when he started throwing high heat. The combination of his high heat and the fact that his fastball spin created a “rise” is shown statistically with Greene’s 22.6% second half IFFB% (9.3% in the first half). Greene’s 22.6% second half IFFB% would have been 2nd in baseball if he had done this the whole season.

    Greene’s second half 36.7% K% would have been 4th in the majors behind deGrom, Strider and Rodon. His 47.1% (K+IFFB)% would have been first in the majors if it were a full season stat. Top 5 (Greene 47.1%, deGrom 46.5%, Strider 45%, Rodon 43.8% and Verlander 42.9%) That is pretty good company.

    His BB% of 5.8% was in the top 40. His swinging K% trailed only deGrom. His (K% – BB%) trailed only deGrom, Strider and Rodon. His FIP trailed only Strider and Verlander.

    In short he was a stud in the second half of 2022 and I think that if he can stay healthy he will be a top 10 SP in 2023. Don’t rule him out for the Cy Young. I love 100-1 odds.

    • Optimist

      A few comments to Stock and Old Schools’ notes.

      It seems odd, but the Cy Young voters may have broken free of the “wins” stat as the anchor for the award – thanks to DeGrom’s overpowering performances on the losing Mets teams. Hence, the 100-1 odds are way out of line. If Greene maintains his second half performance going forward, he’s a top-5 vote getter – hardly 100-1.

      As for the 3 young starters – consider that a team needs 1400+ innings pitched each season. I’d question the “Ashcraft was gassed” theory, and consider he also spent time on the injured list. They overlap, and one may cause the other, but all 3 of them were rookie MLB regular rotation starters. That’s a bit fluky, but something a rebuilding team should do. For 2023, they should be good for 450 ip. The Reds shouldn’t overdo it and try to get 200 ip from any of them, but 150 is a good benchmark.

      Then, we’re back to the basic problems, injuries and underperformance, and, sure, field management as well.

  11. MBS

    The upside on Greene is very high, I think in 23 I’m still expecting more from Lodolo than any other starter on the team. Long term Greene is the man! It would be awesome if we can extend both for a couple extra seasons or more.

  12. Mark Moore

    Matt Reynolds accepted his outright assignment to AAA with an invite to ST MLB camp.

    • Bdh

      Like Romine he’ll be a good AAAA type player to have in Louisville in case the injury bug strikes once again.

      • Greenfield Red

        I think Louisville and the rest of the minor league system need to have winning records this year.

      • Doug Gray

        It’s been over a decade since Louisville had a winning record. Is this finally the year?

      • Melvin

        “It’s been over a decade since Louisville had a winning record. Is this finally the year?”

        Maybe depends on how long EDLC stays in AAA…if at all. We’ll see what kind of ST he has. 🙂

  13. Redsvol

    what are they smoking down there in Miami? They give up a proven MLB starting pitcher in Pablo Lopez…..along with 2 of their better prospects for Luis Arraez? Sure, he can get on base with a high average but he can’t steal bases and doesn’t hit for power. That seems like theft by the Twins. What am I missing here? Maybe I’m overvaluing the prospects here. This would be like us giving up Jonathan India, Hector Rodriguez and Victor Acosta for Lopez.

    Seems like the Marlins could have held onto Lopez and picked from several teams desperate for starting pitching at the trade deadline?

    • Doug Gray

      Much of the baseball world is scratching their heads on this one.