Early in spring training Hunter Greene said that he spent some of the offseason working on his change up. It was a pitch that he made some changes with late in the year in 2022 and it was one that he wanted to focus on using more in the 2023 season.

On Saturday it was the young right-handed starter taking the mound in Las Vegas for the Cincinnati Reds as they took on the Oakland Athletics. The park in Las Vegas is a Triple-A ballpark and it has the same Hawkeye system installed and used that we see across Major League Baseball, which meant that we were able to get all of the pitch information like we would during the regular season.

Greene threw 50 pitches on the day, and 12 of those were change ups. That’s 24% for the change up. Last season saw Greene throw his change up just 5.3% of the time. That’s a huge difference. Spring training is about working on things to get ready for the season. The change up is and has been his third pitch, so working on it in situations where the wins and losses don’t matter certainly comes into play here.

Another interesting thing here is that Greene threw his change up to right-handed hitters four times in the game. That might not seem like it’s worth noting, and for most pitchers it may not be. But in 2022 Greene only threw two change ups to right-handed hitters all season. Yes, two change ups to right-handed hitters in 125.2 innings during the 2022 season is the correct data. That means that in one spring training game where he threw 3.0 innings he threw twice as many change ups to righty hitters as he did in the entirety of last season. The results of those four pitchers were good, too. Greene got two ground outs, a fly out, and a called ball on them.

Much of the Cactus League doesn’t have pitch tracking, so we may not get another true breakdown of Hunter Greene’s pitch usage until the regular season begins. But if today’s game showed us anything, it’s worth keeping an eye on to see not only how often he uses the pitch, but if he increases it’s use against righties to give them a third pitch to think about and look for after it essentially didn’t exist for them in his rookie campaign.

7 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    Couldn’t watch the game (indication was my MLB.tv subscription from last season wasn’t “upgraded” enough). What you point out in the article is encouraging. I’ve said before that Greene appears to be highly coachable and if he progresses the way we’re seeing, he should have a great year and develop into a fine starting pitcher.

    On another note, I saw where 4M has signed on with the Rocks. It’s a minor-league deal, but the risk is nil to them given we’re still on the hook for almost $22M. I wish him well, but unless some miracle has transpired, I don’t think even Coors Field can help him much. Plus they are talking about putting him in the field (I believe at 2B). If that’s the case, the defensive metrics will probably be brutal.

    • Harry Stoner

      I see a moderate comeback looming for the Moose.

      It often works this way.

      .240 20+ hrs. 70+ rbis.

    • Doug Gray

      You need a sub for 2023 now to continue watching MLBtv. The one from last year worked until this weekend.

  2. Jim Walker

    If Greene transitions his pitch usage to feature a large percentage of change-ups, he will be following in the path of Mario Soto, Johnny Cueto, and Luis Castillo.

    This will be particularly true if his change develops the backup action which runs away from LH hitters and in on RH hitters as it fades downward.

  3. Kevin H

    Great article and encouraging for Greene. I know have pointed out his struggles this spring, however I believe he is learning how to pitch and using that change up will be huge for him.

    • CI3J

      Exactly this. I don’t think he’s so much “struggling” as he is trying things out, seeing what works and what doesn’t. Wins and stats don’t matter now, so now is the perfect time to experiment.