Reds news: Top pitching prospects win back-to-back honors

Reds non-roster invitee pitcher Nick Lodolo (86) delivers in the bullpen.
Cincinnati Reds Spring Training 2 23 2020
Reds non-roster invitee pitcher Nick Lodolo (86) delivers in the bullpen. Cincinnati Reds Spring Training 2 23 2020 /

It happened again. One of the Cincinnati Reds top pitching prospect took home Player of the Week honors in Double-A South. Only this time, it was Hunter Green, it was his teammate Nick Lodolo. Lodolo went seven innings, struck out 11 batters, and didn’t allow a run.

The week before last, May10-17, Greene’s two outings netted him the same award. The flame-throwing right-hander went 11 innings and struck out 17 batters, including 10 on Sunday, May 16th versus the Montgomery Biscuits.

Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene are the future of the Reds starting rotation.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the future of the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation looks very good. The consensus top two prospects in the team’s farm system have been dominant thus far in 2021, and both appear on their way toward a promotion to Triple-A later this season.

Lodolo, Cincinnati’s No. 1 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is dismantling opposing batters in Double-A. According to FanGraphs, Lodolo has a 40.7% strikeout-rate. That means that 4 out of 10 batters who face Lodolo are going down swinging.

The former first-round pick has the makings of a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. Lodolo has an average fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s, but his repertoire of breaking ball and changeup can be devastating. He also has great command of all his pitches. The former TCU star has 24 punch outs and five walks on the season.

Another former first-rounder, Greene, has returned to the field with a vengeance in 2021. The right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery that wiped out his entire 2019 minor league season. The coronavirus pandemic eliminated any opportunity Greene had to pitch professionally in 2020, but the 21-year-old is making up for lost time.

Greene has been sensational in his four starts this season, owning a 40.1% strikeout-rate and showing some improved command of his slider. Greene’s heater is overpowering, topping 100 mph on a regular basis.

Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene aren’t the only Reds prospects showing promise.

Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene aren’t the only two prospects showing promise in Double-A. Fellow pitcher Reiver Sanmartin, a southpaw like Lodolo, has looked very good in his four starts this season. Sanmartin is 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA.

Sanmartin projects as a relief due to his slight frame (6-foot-2, 160-pounds), but he’s been impressive thus far for Double-A Chattanooga. As a groups, the Lookouts’ starting rotation lead the division in ERA (2.26), innings pitched (87.2), and WHIP (0.94).

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All three aforementioned pitchers have hurdles they must overcome during the next couple months if they hope to receive a promotion to Triple-A Louisville, but I’d venture to guess that all three are on their way. Vladimir Gutierrez, Tony Santillan, and Riley O’Brien are in line to receive a call-up to the big leagues in the very near future.