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.

56 Responses

  1. CFD3000

    Hunter was already pretty good with basically just two pitches. If he adds a third, quite different pitch AND he can locate it, that could be a huge development. Of course first things first, he needs to get to 100% healthy, and then stay there. Do whatever it takes – rest, stretching, strengthening – to take care of this hip issue, then let’s see how fastball, slider, mystery pitch (and maybe even a few changeups) might work in the majors. Can’t wait to find out.

    • BenchWarmer

      Mostly 95-96, but it looked like he was purposely keeping it down and focusing on mechanics and location. I expect that he’ll start ramping it back up towards 100, but there’s something to be said for dialing it down a lot of the time, a la Verlander, who’ll work in the mid 90s for large stretches but can pull out 98 when he needs it (well, possibly not still, I haven’t watched him much this year, but he certainly used to operate that way). Hunter with a usable changeup or split and continued improvement with location on fastball and slider is a scary proposition for opposing lineups.

  2. AllTheHype

    He’s a smart guy. He’s hungry for success and no doubt he will evolve and become more effective. He just needs one more decent offspeed pitch that batters have to defend and it will make 99 at the top of the zone that much faster, and the walk back to the dugout that much longer.

  3. old-school

    Whether it be a change up or split, Greene adding a 3rd pitch that can cause hitters to slow down their bat speed is just what he needs. That may help him get weak contact, ground balls, double plays and improve his pitch efficiency and allow him to go deeper in games. Will be fun to follow. Nice pick up Doug!

  4. Chris L

    I think it’s either a so-called “Vulcan” change or a kind of splitter/forkball, the resolution isn’t good enough to see for sure, but there seems to be separation in his fingers on the ball. The “Vulcan” is like a forkball (ball deep in the fingers) but between the middle and ring fingers, two fingers on either side of the ball and the thumb gives it a slight corkscrew spin that fades arm-side. The splitter/forkball is up in the fingers, like a splitter, but with top digit knuckles on the sides of the ball and fades glove side. In both cases, if your hands are big enough (and his probably are), and you don’t snap your wrist, the ball sort of squirts out the back of your fingers on release and will almost knuckle, very low spin, sometimes none.

    Scott Williamson’s splitter was this pitch, not a traditional top-spin split. As I understand it, R.A. Dickey, before he learned a proper knuckleball had a pitch he called “The Thing”– his hands were smaller, so he tucked his middle finger and threw it on his index and ring fingers for the same knuckle-type effect.

    If I’m right, this is really cool, first because they’re both weak contact pitches that not too many people are physically able to throw like that– they work less well or not at all at lower arm speeds, you really have to bring it like your hardest fastball to get that effect or you’ll bounce them halfway. Second because it means he’s thinking and experimenting, “what happens if I do this?” “that was cool, what did I just do? can I do it again?” There aren’t too many guys who throw 100 who bother with that sort of thing, they usually leave it up to the Spaceman Lee’s of the world.

  5. VaRedsFan

    I like any 3rd pitch that he can command. But something in the low to mid 80’s, that he can throw for strikes, would keep hitters so off balance, would be huge for his development as a pitcher

  6. DW

    Picking up a splitter is a great decision for Hunter. I hope that is the case.

  7. CI3J

    I’ve always said Hunter Greene is too talented to be a two-pitch pitcher. If he can work in a change-up and this new cutter/splitter/whatever it is, it will give batters a lot more to think about when they face him.

    Most MLB batters can catch up to a triple digit fastball if they see it enough times. Keeping batters off-balance and guessing is the true key to success.

    • Soto

      Yep, I’ve been saying it for a while. Without a quality 3rd pitch, his stuff lends better to a late inning relief role. If he really wants to be a starter, he must develop an effective offspeed pitch.

  8. Rick

    This is big in his development as a big leaguer. If he can have that pitch refined and mastered to locate it properly through ST next year, that will make him more lethal in 2024 atop our rotation.
    Stay healthy and keep it up.

  9. Votto4life

    Not sure why they are rushing him. They should shut down Greene, Lodolo and Abbott for the year. Let them fully heal and get them ready for 2024.

    • Doug Gray

      The Cincinnati Reds are tied for a playoff spot today.

      • Rick

        Inaddition to your point Doug, they(Hunter, Nick) need to add innings and work on things facing big leaguers. Their body’s need to get acclimated to this time of year going forward.
        It’s not like they’ve already thrown 130 innings.

    • Rob

      Don’t tell the fans that. Most of the Reds fans want this team to contend and buy tickets to support them. If we didn’t intend to compete for a playoff spot, then we missed a good opportunity at the deadline to sell off or realign some assets. No, we totally based the last 40 games of this run on Abbott, Greene, and Lodolo.

    • Luke J

      What makes you think they are rushing him? Neither of us are on the medical staff, but I’d argue they have taken their good sweet time with what appears to me to be a very minor injury. I believe the IL was more precautionary than anything. And the fact that he has seemingly developed a new pitch while away makes me think that most of his time on the IL has been spent working on his craft, not waiting for an injury to heal. If he is healthy, he should pitch. End of story. Shutting him down for next year is not good for anyone unless it’s medically necessary.

  10. Soto

    My criticisms about Hunter Greene as a starter has always been based on his lack of a quality offspeed pitch to keep hitters off balance. I really hope this report is the start of Hunter developing that quality off-speed pitch. He just never seemed to trust his changeup. A splitter could be a devastating pitch for him. Although, I have heard some people voice concern over the pressure that a traditional splitter puts on the elbow. I am no expert on pitching so I have no idea on the legitimacy of those concerns. Whatever it is, I hope he masters it and it becomes the pitch that takes him over the top. Without it, I just don’t see him becoming a consistent, top of the line starter. I hope he comes back healthy and better than ever. The Reds could surely use him sooner than later.

    • kypodman

      My criticism is his pitch count, stop wasting pitches and “put away” batters. Don’t try and strike out everyone.

    • Rick

      I’m with you on that. If he can master an offspeed pitch and locate it with confidence to use it in an count, that would be absolutely huge.

      • SR

        If he had the splitter, or whatever the heck they call it,that Cruz threw yesterday, he would be nails. He and Fernando need to get together and compare notes. It sure was a simpler world when it was sliders, curves change ups and Fastballs.

  11. AMDG

    I was hoping for a knuckle curve, but I’ll settle for a split 🙂

    • Mario

      I would like to see HG throw a knuckle curve.

      • Dale

        Reds don’t teach trick pitches……

  12. Redsvol

    Hunter Greene is going to be an absolute stud if he can stay healthy. He has a hunger to get better and work on new things. He just needs time on the mound pitching to experienced big league hitters and to a competent defensive catcher.

    Wasn’t that long ago that a former reds first rounder simply wouldn’t or couldn’t work on new things and the league caught up and passed him by.

  13. LDS

    What a difference a week makes. One week ago, the Reds lead the Central Division by 1.5 games on Milwaukee, 3.5 on Chicago. Optimism was running high with some deadline pitching help expected. None materialized. Since then, the Reds have gone 0-6, and now only 1/2 game ahead of Miami in the wild card race. And who do they play today? Miami. If Bell can’t light a fire under their rears for today’s game, Krall should correct the error of last weekend. Find someone that knows how to win.

    • Mario

      Facing Perez is a disaster waiting to happen. If they get more than 5 hits tonight, I would be surprised.

      Still disappointed at Friday night’s loss with Fairchild not being able to get the bat on the ball and get Friedl in from 3rd base in a tie game in the 9th inning with 1 out. That’s game right there. Strike out. End up getting swept.

      • LDS

        Yep, Bell needs to reorder the lineup. Votto needs to sit. And Hopkins shouldn’t have been called up if he’s just there to pinch run. Dump Senzel and Newman. Lopez, Barrero, and others in Louisville are better choices – if Bell would play them.

      • David

        I am frankly surprised that Newman is still with the Reds after the Trade Deadline. I thought they would dump him for “Something”. Just to clear a roster spot.
        But nooooooooooo!
        He’s got “veteran presence”. Skip Schumacher, version 2.0.
        I expect Senzel to get traded in the off-season. That is almost a lead-pipe cinch. Or the Reds will non-tender him and let him walk. Not sure what his contract situation is for 2024.
        Too many younger, talented players coming up, and there is really no place for him on the future Reds roster.

  14. Mark A Verticchio

    Mclain looked horrible yesterday but at this point you play your best players regardless. Bell is a total disaster, Newman out and Mclain in, Fairchild out and give Hopkins a try. If they has any guts DFA Senzel to send a message about how you behave in the middle of a pennant race. This team is the Titanic and Bell is denying the existence of icebergs. What a sad way to see a season blow up right before our eyes. Krall and Bell both need to be sent packing, won’t happen. Last thing quit leading EDLC off it isn’t working.

    • MBS

      I’m with you, it’s one thing to sub out a guy when we are at full strength, but you’re right, there is no need to play Newman over McLain. I was excited to see what Hopkins could do, but instead we are stuck with watching a mediocre Fairchild.

      • LDS

        Fairchild at least has an upside. Newman does not. And as noted, benching McLain for Newman is ludicrous. At least, Senzel isn’t playing.

    • Roger Garrett

      Newman was traded for to play and he has and will. He survived Little Mac,ELDC and CES all infielders and will survive and play when India returns another infielder.He does not have a position per say but he will be right there to the end.Joey will be as well to the end.Reds have way way too many infielders as Steer and Senzel also are infielders.Newman also survived a stint on the DL while the Reds figured out what to do

  15. RedAlert

    Doug, can you please advise of the status of Rhett Lowder ? I have been searching to see where he has been assigned ….. or is he still in Arizona ? I would have certainly thought he would have made his initial start at some level by now …

  16. Mark A Verticchio

    I just can’t believe Bell was given another 3 years, I swear it must be a dream – nightmare.

    • Pete

      Just wait until they pick up Votto’s option. There is no way in the world this organization is going to let him leave the scene without a farewell tour. Regardless of the effect it will have on the team on the field. These things are gonna happen and we just have to hope they could be overcome.

      One thing the Reds do very well is honoring their history and the great players that have played in Cincinnati. Votto is certainly going to be one of those players and there’s no way they are going to leave him out to dry before he gets that on honor. Krall comes from the Oakland A’s organization and they have no such hangups. So when that extension comes please, for God’s sake, do not blame it on Nick Krall.

      • LDS

        I agree. The Reds likely bring back Votto, who starts every day

      • Old Big Ed

        Pete, man, Nick Krall is 45 years years old and has worked for the Reds for 20 years. He spent two seasons in Oakland, which included some time as a bat boy. He’s from the A’s organization pretty much like Henry Aaron is an Indianapolis Clowns product.

      • Steelerfan

        I hope I am wrong (pending developments rest of the season obviously) but my guess/fear is that with the $7million buyout, they work some kind of deal where they do not pick up the full option, but he gets $12-14. With the roster crunch, as much as I love Votto, I hope that does not happen, but if he wants to keep playing, something like that is going to be tough for ownership politically.

    • Longtimefan

      How many SO do we have tonight. Lineup looks good for 12+ once again. They have been way up and it coincides with our most recent losing ways. The only play that the defense literally has to do nothing on. Elly continues to lead off with a 5 to 1 SO to walk rate. This is not the time to try and force that to be successful. He’s only 21. Let him work his way into that spot in the lineup. Hit him in the bottom third to take some of the pressure off of him. If he gets hot it can certainly be contagious.

  17. MK

    Quite the roster dilemma coming up. Several guys on 60-day IL are going to need a 40-man roster spot in the next 30 days. Means some quality players are going to be put through waivers to open a spot and could end up elsewhere. Weaver definitely one candidate but at least three needed.

    • west larry

      Weaver, Senzel and Newman? Probably need several more pitchers removed so that we can add pitchers coming off the I, R..

      • Jim Walker

        Even if they DFA a position guy to get a pitcher onto the 40 man, they will have to move pitchers to get them onto the active roster due to the 13 pitcher limit.

        A position guy optioned or DFA either one, would work for India.

        The only projection I have seen on Fraley was “several” weeks; and, I doubt there is much urgency to get Casali back to active status.

      • Rob

        Maybe. But it could also be prospects AAA guys who haven’t shown the promise hoped for. Siani? Lively? Kennedy? Will have to be 5 guys total if you include Dunn. It may even be guys who had trade value a few days ago.

      • MK

        They would have to option someone for India but he is on 40-man. CES is struggling he might be optionable.

    • David

      Weaver….well, bye.

      Likely other pitching candidates from the 40 man:
      Alan Busenitz, who has done well in AAA ball, but not so much for the big club, and Brett Kennedy, who was added for one thing, then never recalled, until now. He’s back.
      Will he start again for the Reds? Is this a curtain call for him? They will wait to the last minute, because somebody else on the ML roster (pitching) might get hurt.
      My guess is that Brett Kennedy is a place holder (at this minute) for Hunter Greene, and will be DFA’d when Greene is activated.

      Glad that Nick Krall was super-active at the trade deadline to help the team!!!
      And honestly, who knows what deals Nick was working on, only to be vetoed by the ownership group?

      • MK

        Kennedy has already started a game this season for the Reds, so he was recalled before today.

  18. Jim Walker

    Official Reds X (AKA Twitter) says Brett Kennedy called up, Lyon Richardson optioned to AAA and Casey Legumina was reinstated from rehab then optioned to AAA. Kennedy for Richardson was predictable as gives them another usable arm. I’d wager they there will be a pitcher IL move in time to get Richardson back up for a start ahead of the standard 15 day minimum.

  19. Steelerfan

    Agree on the third pitch development longer term but anyone find this odd/concerning in the middle of the season while coming back from an an injury? That doesn’t seem like the best sceanrio to develop a new pitch, and I would be a little worried any new pitch might alter the delivery, even very slightly, and increase injury risk (again, even if only very slightly).

    • Jim Walker

      It is possible they were changing his mechanics anyway if they believed the mechanics contributed to the hip issue.

    • Old Big Ed

      I think that Greene has been working on it all year, and his AAA outing was just a low-risk way of throwing it in a game. What was there to lose by his throwing it?

      To me, he left it up too much, anyway, when I suspect that the hope is that a good one would sink below the strike zone. So, he still has some work to do on it.

      • Jim Walker

        I agree about the location. A cutter or splitter which looks like a high hung slider (my impression on 3 of the 4 in the video) probably has a very limited shelf life as an effective pitch. On the other hand, if the bottom falls out of it, he probably is on to something.