MLB Pipeline ranks the Cincinnati Reds right hander as the number eight prospect in baseball.
The Cincinnati Reds drafted Hunter Greene second overall in the 2017 draft. He pitched and played DH in his brief introduction to rookie ball last season. After poor results hitting, Greene decided to focus on pitching full-time.
MLB Pipeline ranked Greene as the eighth best right handed prospect in the game. Of course, Japanese import Shohei Ohtani is the top prospect on the list. He is in the running for the Los Angeles Angels opening day start.
Greene has already been on the cover of Sports Illustrated. His fastball has already been clocked at over 100 miles per hour. Only 2016 second overall pick Nick Senzel is ahead of him in the Reds’ system.
Based on how the Reds have treated other young pitchers, Greene will spend as much time as possible in Dayton playing for the Dragons. That likely puts him in the Reds’ rotation in either 2021 or 2022. In the meantime Greene has to focus on being a better pitcher.
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Having a plus fastball is great, but Greene didn’t produce in rookie ball. Of course, he also limited his time on the mound his senior year in high school. That alone may slow down his progress through the Reds’ system.
The Cincinnati Reds have other young starters at or near the big league level.
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The top pitching prospect besides Greene is Tyler Mahle. He made four starts at the end of 2017 going 1-2 with a 2.70 ERA. The only stop where Mahle has had an ERA over four is his first half of a season at Double-A.
Another young starter that looks great, but you wouldn’t consider a prospect, is Luis Castillo. He pitched the second half of the season in Cincinnati and could make the first start of the entire season. Castillo made fifteen starts with a 3.12 ERA, but only ended up going 3-7 in Cincinnati at the end of 2017.
Then again, before there was Greene, there was Robert Stephenson. He was the last Reds’ next big starting pitcher taken out of high school. Stephenson has yet to establish himself at the major league level and the Reds could relegate him to the bullpen permanently.
That’s the danger with prospects. They will become whatever their talent allows them to become. Unfortunately, for the Reds and the rest of baseball busts happen far too often for pitchers with far too much talent.