Reds fans growing frustrated with Hunter Greene's lagging development

Same song, ninth verse.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Hunter Greene
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Hunter Greene / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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There's two ways to look at Hunter Greene's outing from Tuesday night at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. You're either in the group that says Greene was able to keep the Seattle Mariners' bats at bay and gave his team a chance to win, or you'll plant your flag firmly in the camp that claims the Cincinnati Reds right-hander continues to show that he can't go past five innings, which will inevitably tax the bullpen.

It seems that most Reds fans hold one of those two views when it comes to the former first-round pick. Last night, during Greene's 50th career major league start, he punched out eight batters, allowed just one run while walking three, and left after four innings of work having thrown 98 pitches.

And with that type of performance, the debate will rage on. Some Reds fans are clamoring that Greene is a thrower, not a pitcher. Others will claim that manager David Bell should move Greene to the bullpen. Still some hold out hope that he's just 24 years old and will eventually figure things out. Regardless of where you come down in your evaluation of Greene, there's no doubt that frustration among the Reds fanbase is mounting.

Reds fans growing frustrated with Hunter Greene's lagging development

It's impossible to look at some of the stats from Greene's performance thus far and not walk away both impressed and confused. For his career, Greene has 346 strikeouts. But with only 258.1 innings of work over 50 starts, the Reds hurler is averaging just over five innings pitched per game.

Last season, Greene was able to make it into the sixth inning in 13 of his 22 starts, but only twice did Greene make it through seven innings of work. Greene finds himself all too often in a number of three-ball counts, and thus ends up hitting his pitch limit before finishing the fifth or sixth inning.

Greene is a strikeout pitcher, which oftentimes leads to higher pitch counts, as he's looking for swings and misses, not weak contact. But until Greene can refine that third offering, which he's been deploying this season, the questions will continue to exist.

Cincinnati committed a lot of money to Greene after signing him to a six-year contract extension last spring. That, combined with Alexis Diaz, Lucas Sims, and Fernando Cruz at the back of the bullpen guarantees that the Reds have no intention of moving Greene into a relief role. But something's got to give. Reds fans have been relatively patient with Greene, but most feel that it's time to see him take that next step. So far this season, it feels like more of the same.

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