2. Reds RHP Hunter Greene could be the difference between success & failure in 2024
The Cincinnati Reds showed their commitment to Hunter Greene last spring after signing the young gun to a six-year contract extension. In all likelihood, Greene will be the team's Opening Day starter when the 2024 season begins in late-March.
On pure, raw ability, Greene is the best pitcher on the Reds' staff. Quite frankly, there's not a close second. However, in the big leagues, one cannot get by on talent alone. That's a lesson that Greene has had to learn the hard way during his first two major league season.
Some Reds fans have ridiculed Greene, forgetting that he effectively missed two seasons of minor-league development; Greene missed the 2019 season following Tommy John surgery and the 2020 minor league season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some fans have even suggested that Greene should be moved to the bullpen.
While the frustration is understandable, Greene, based on his overall talent, is a frontline starter. But the right-hander must become more efficient in 2024. That starts with going deeper into ball games and staying off the injured list.
Continued development of his third offering and more movement from both his fastball and changeup will help as well. Greene, according to Baseball Savant, only went to his off-speed pitch five-percent of the time in 2023.
The Cincinnati Reds did not land a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher this offseason because they believe Hunter Greene can be that guy. The success of the Reds 2024 season may hinge on the development of Greene from developing pitcher to frontline starter.