Hunter Greene made one start out in Arizona on a rehab assignment. He pitched well against a bunch of teenagers. On Saturday he took the mound in Triple-A and he threw 2.2 innings while allowing a hit, a walk, and he picked up a strikeout. After he exited the game the batter he had walked came around to score and that run went onto his record. He threw 46 pitches and 27 of those were strikes, with five of those being swinging strikes.
But something interesting happened in Louisville on Saturday night….. Hunter Greene threw a handful of pitches that weren’t like anything he’s thrown in the past. For his big league career, Greene has thrown a 4-seam fastball, a slider, and a change up. In his career he’s kind of shown two different variations of his change up. After the first three months of his big league career his change up went to the second version, it’s the one he has used ever since.
Saturday night he threw that same change up twice. But he also threw five pitches that were sort of like change ups, but not quite. Hawkeye, the same technology used to track everything from pitches to batted balls to fielders in the big leagues is also in all of the Triple-A parks. Their pitch classification algorithm didn’t know what to do with this new pitch. Of the five of them, three were labeled as a cutter, one as a change up, and one as a 4-seam fastball. All of the pitches were between 87.0 and 88.0 MPH, so it definitely wasn’t a fastball. The velocity was similar to his change up, but the spin rate was much, much lower, and the movement was similar but not the same.
After taking a bit more of a deeper dive into the Hawkeye data it would seem that the pitch acts like a splitter. It’s got similar vertical movement that his change up has, but it’s got nearly three inches difference on the horizontal plane. That could be one of the reasons the Hawkeye system classified some of them as a cutter – the pitch certainly has some cutting action to it.
Only four of the five pitches we’re talking about showed up on video. The production team was showing a plane flying by for one of them and didn’t get back to the game action in time and missed one of them. But here are the other four:
At this point it’s just one outing we’ve seen the data on, and it’s just five pitches from one rehab outing. But Hunter Greene picking up a new pitch while injured and bringing it back with him? That’s certainly an interesting development to keep an eye on moving forward.
We’ll get a chance to see Greene start a few more times in Triple-A before he returns to the Reds. The latest information was that he was set to return for Cincinnati on August 20th, which would give the righty two more rehab starts in the minors before returning to the big leagues.