Hunter Greene just didn't have it last night. Okay, maybe that was the case. His next start on Wednesday will be very indicative of whether or not that's true or if there's more to the story. For now, fans should take the Cincinnati Reds pitcher at his word.
But without that 100-plus MPH fastball, Greene is not a phenom. Without that heater that can touch triple-digits, Greene is just a young pitching prospect, albeit a good one.
Hunter Greene's decreased velocity is quite concerning for the Reds.
One of the biggest aspects of Hunter Greene's game is the fact that he can rev up that fastball to 100, 101, and sometimes even 102 MPH and then drop his changeup in at 90 MPH. That's not an easy adjustment for opposing batters.
However, if opposing hitters are seeing just 95-96 MPH on his four-seam fastball and then watching his changeup come in at 86 MPH, they'll make the adjustment much more readily. St. Louis Cardinals' manager Oliver Marmol, via MLB.com, said as much after the game.
"I think we prepared for [Greene’s high velocity], and then it’s always easier to adjust down than up, right? So we were prepared for the velocity and his mix of that with the slider, but early on, you could tell the velo was a tick down, and guys made an adjustment."- Oliver Marmol, Cardinals manager
During an in-game interview, Cincinnati manager David Bell referred to Greene as "healthy", but forgive me if I don't believe what comes out of the Cincinnati clubhouse from time to time. While I believe that Bell is oftentimes just trying to protect his players, the truth seems to escape the Reds manager when discussing potential injuries.
We heard that Jonathan India might be back in the lineup after missing just a day, and he's now on the IL. Mike Moustakas was sure to be back in the lineup a day after missing a game due to an arm issue, he's now on the IL. Nick Senzel was said to be resting for day and ended up missing five consecutive games. So forgive me if I don't necessarily believe that Greene is 100% healthy.
Hunter Greene's next start will be quite telling. Will the right-hander be hitting 100-plus on the radar gun or will that velocity be down once again? Greene has the potential to be a phenomenal pitcher, but the velocity is what sets him apart from other young pitchers in the game.