Hunter Greene (baseball)

Christian Hunter Greene[1] (born August 6, 1999) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Reds selected him second overall in the 2017 MLB Draft.

Hunter Greene
Greene with the Louisville Bats in 2021
Cincinnati Reds – No. 21
Pitcher
Born: (1999-08-06) August 6, 1999
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
MLB debut
April 10, 2022, for the Cincinnati Reds
MLB statistics
(through 2022 season)
Win–loss record5–13
Earned run average4.44
Strikeouts164
Teams
Medals
Men's baseball
Representing  United States
U-15 Baseball World Cup
2014 Mazatlán Team
U-18 Baseball World Cup
2015 Osaka Team

Born in Los Angeles, California, Greene learned how to pitch at the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton. His fastball velocity was already 93 mph (150 km/h) during his first year at Notre Dame High School, and by the time he graduated in 2017, it was up to 102 mph (164 km/h). The Reds drafted Greene out of high school, and he joined their farm system rather than playing college baseball. Greene suffered an ulnar collateral ligament injury partway through the 2018 season and underwent Tommy John surgery the following year. The COVID-19 pandemic kept him from pitching for another year, but once he returned in 2021, he quickly rose through the minor leagues.

Greene made the Reds' Opening Day roster in 2022. In only the second game of his major league career, he set an MLB record by throwing 39 pitches with a velocity of at least 100 mph (160 km/h).

Early life

Greene was born on August 6, 1999, in Los Angeles, California.[1] His mother Senta worked as an educational consultant, while his father Russell worked as a private investigator for Johnnie Cochran.[2] In 2007, when he was seven years old, he joined the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton, California. Greene learned how to pitch at the instructional facility and appeared in several youth showcase events hosted by Major League Baseball (MLB),[3] such as the Junior Home Run Derby at the 2016 MLB All-Star Game at Petco Park.[4][5]

At Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, Greene played shortstop when he was not pitching.[6] His fastball velocity was at 93 mph (150 km/h) during his freshman season, and by his senior year, he was pitching up to 102 mph (164 km/h).[2] Over four high school baseball seasons, Greene had a career 1.62 earned run average (ERA) in 121+13 innings pitched, striking out over 30 percent of the batters he faced.[7] This included a senior season in which he had a 3–0 win–loss record and 0.75 ERA in five appearances, striking out 43 batters and walking four in 28 innings. Offensively, Greene batted .324 with six home runs, 28 runs batted in (RBI), six doubles, two triples, 23 runs scored, a .374 on-base percentage, and a .598 slugging percentage.[8] In April 2017, Greene became the 13th high school athlete to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and the first high school baseball player since Bryce Harper in 2009.[9]

Professional career

Draft and minor leagues (2017–2021)

Despite media projections that Greene would be the first overall pick in the 2017 MLB draft,[2][10][11] the Minnesota Twins selected Royce Lewis,[12] and Greene was instead taken second overall by the Cincinnati Reds.[13] Greene, who had been committed to play college baseball for the UCLA Bruins since he was a freshman in high school,[14] ultimately agreed to a professional contract with the Reds only a few minutes before the 2 p.m. (PDT) signing deadline on July 7. His $7.23 million signing bonus was the highest of any player since the draft slot system was overhauled in 2012 and the highest of any player since Gerrit Cole signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011 for $8 million. Once he signed with the Reds, Greene was assigned to the Billings Mustangs, their farm system team in the Rookie-level Pioneer League.[15] Primarily used as a pitcher, Greene also saw time as a designated hitter on days when he did not pitch.[16] He started in three games for the Mustangs, going 0–1 with a 12.46 ERA in the process while striking out six batters in 4+13 innings. At the plate, he batted .233 with three RBI in 30 at bats across 10 games.[17]

Greene had difficulty adjusting to the older, more experienced hitters he faced in the Midwest League: in his first five starts, his ERA was 13.97, and opposing hitters batted .420 against him. He improved with coaching, however, with a nine-game stretch in which he pitched to a 2.78 ERA and struck out 54 batters in 45+13 innings before pitching in the 2018 All-Star Futures Game.[18] Greene's 2018 season came to an end at the start of August when he sprained the ulnar collateral ligament of his right elbow. He made 18 starts for Dayton before the injury, during which he went 3–7 with a 4.48 ERA and 89 strikouts.[19] The Reds medical staff had hoped that the injury would improve through nonsurgical rehabilitation, but in March 2019, Greene suffered a setback, and he underwent Tommy John surgery to repair the ligament.[20]

Greene, like other MLB prospects, did not pitch in 2020 either, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the Minor League Baseball season.[21] When he returned to professional baseball in 2021, he was assigned to the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern League.[22] He made seven starts there, during which he went 5–0 with a 1.98 ERA and struck out 60 batters in 41 innings, before receiving a promotion to the Triple-A Louisville Bats on June 15.[23] Greene started 14 games after the promotion, during which he went 5–8 with a 4.13 ERA and struck out 79 batters in 65+13 innings.[17] The Reds put Greene on an innings limit for the season, and he was shut down on September 17 after pitching 106+13 innings. Between Chattanooga and Louisville, Greene had a 3.30 ERA and 139 strikeouts for the season.[24] That November, the Reds added Greene to their 40-man roster to protect him from being taken in the Rule 5 draft.[25]

Cincinnati Reds (2022–present)

After impressing coaches during spring training, Greene made the Reds' Opening Day roster for the 2022 MLB season.[26] He made his major league debut on April 10, earning the win in a 6–3 Cincinnati victory over defending World Series champions the Atlanta Braves. Greene allowed three earned runs on four hits while striking out seven batters over five innings.[27] Facing the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 17 for his second start, Greene set an MLB record by throwing 39 pitches at speeds of 100 mph (160 km/h) or higher. The previous record was set by Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets, who threw 33 pitches at that velocity on June 5, 2021. Despite this performance, the Reds lost the game 5–2.[28] Greene had a difficult start to his major league career, going 1–5 with a 7.62 ERA and allowing 11 home runs in his first six starts. He improved over his next six games, going 2–2 with a 3.18 ERA while allowing only four home runs.[29] On August 1, Greene pitched six scoreless innings against the Miami Marlins. It was his third outing in which he pitched at least six innings, struck out eight or more batters while allowing no more than one hit, a record for rookie pitchers in the live-ball era.[30] Four days later, Greene, who had previously experienced arm fatigue during his starts, was placed on the injured list with a right shoulder strain.[31]

National team career

Greene first represented the United States in international competition at the 2014 U-15 Baseball World Cup in Mexico. He struck out four batters and allowed one unearned run on three hits in his first outing, a 14–2 rout of Panama. Greene took the win in the game, while his fastball reached 93 mph (150 km/h).[32] Greene and the US team were only silver medalists, however, as Cuba defeated Team USA 10–2 in the championship match. Greene lasted only two innings in this final outing, allowing three runs on three hits while striking out two.[33]

The year after his silver medal performance at the U15 tournament, Greene once again represented the United States at the 2015 U-18 Baseball World Cup in Japan.[34] Greene and the rest of Team USA won the gold medal in a 2–1 championship victory over the host team.[35]

Pitcher profile

Greene's primary pitch is his four-seam fastball. It typically sits between 98 to 101 mph (158 to 163 km/h), but has reached radar gun speeds up to 104 mph (167 km/h).[36] His breaking balls are a slider and a changeup.[37] While he was in the Reds' farm system, there was some concern over Greene's ability to develop an off-speed pitch to complement his fastball. He stopped throwing a curveball in order to focus on his slider, and his command improved as he progressed through the minor leagues.[38][39] His changeup was not as developed when Greene made his major league debut, with Fangraphs rating the pitch only a 40 out of 80.[40]

Personal life

Greene and his family live in Stevenson Ranch, California.[41] He has two younger siblings, a sister named Libriti and a brother named Ethan. Libriti was diagnosed with leukemia when she was five years old, but went into remission four years later.[2] Outside of baseball, Greene enjoys painting and playing the violin.[42]

References

  1. "Hunter Greene Stats, Fantasy & News". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Archived from the original on April 11, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  2. Jenkins, Lee (April 24, 2017). "Hunter Greene is the star baseball needs. First he has to graduate high school". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on April 12, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  3. Lee, Joon (July 5, 2017). "Hunter Greene Is Not the LeBron of Baseball. He Wants to Be Something More". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on November 9, 2020. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  4. Sondheimer, Eric (February 20, 2017). "Notre Dame pitcher and slugger Hunter Greene is a teenage star in the making". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  5. Sondheimer, Eric (May 3, 2015). "Baseball: The Hunter Greene Factor". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 2, 2019. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  6. Walker, Jim (June 14, 2017). "Reds hit bull's-eye after targeting Greene for their No. 1 pick". Ironton Tribune. Archived from the original on August 9, 2021. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  7. McCoy, Hal (June 12, 2017). "Padres put it to Arroyo, Reds". Journal-News. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  8. "14 Times Sports Illustrated Proclaimed a High School Athlete the Next Big Thing". Sports Illustrated. April 25, 2017. Archived from the original on November 22, 2021. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  9. Sondheimer, Eric (April 18, 2017). "Hunter Greene could be done pitching this season". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 24, 2017. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  10. "Potential No. 1 MLB pick Hunter Greene hopes to inspire young African-American players". USA Today. March 17, 2017. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  11. Waszak Jr., Dennis (June 12, 2017). "Royce Lewis picked by Minnesota Twins as No. 1 overall pick in 2017 MLB draft". The Denver Post. Archived from the original on September 5, 2017. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  12. Sheldon, Mark (June 12, 2017). "Reds take star HS RHP Greene at No. 2". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Archived from the original on September 22, 2020. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  13. Sondheimer, Eric (January 31, 2014). "Baseball: Sherman Oaks Notre Dame Freshman Hunter Greene commits to UCLA". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  14. Sondheimer, Eric (July 7, 2017). "Hunter Greene has reached agreement with Cincinnati Reds for $7.23 million". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  15. Buchanan, Zach (July 7, 2017). "Reds sign top pick Hunter Grenee". Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on April 13, 2021. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  16. "Hunter Greene Minor Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on April 10, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  17. Gardner, Steve (July 15, 2018). "Hunter Greene, 18, showcases 102-mph heat – and his growing pains – at Futures Game". USA Today. Archived from the original on July 12, 2021. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  18. Melnick, Kyle (August 3, 2018). "Reds prospect Hunter Greene has UCL sprain". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Archived from the original on June 24, 2019. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  19. Fay, John; Nightengale, Bobby (April 1, 2019). "Reds top pitching prospect Hunter Greene to have Tommy John surgery". Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on May 14, 2021. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  20. Castillo, Jorge (April 14, 2022). "Things are looking up for Hunter Greene, just as he envisioned". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  21. Paschall, David (May 1, 2021). "Top Reds prospects Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene to begin season with Lookouts". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Archived from the original on May 6, 2021. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  22. Jablonski, David (June 15, 2021). "Reds promote Hunter Greene to Triple-A". Dayton Daily News. Archived from the original on June 28, 2021. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  23. Goldsmith, Charlie (September 17, 2021). "Cincinnati Reds top prospect Hunter Greene's season is done due to innings limit". Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on March 27, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  24. Nightengale, Bobby (November 19, 2021). "Hunter Greene, 4 other prospects added to Cincinnati Reds' 40-man roster". Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  25. Nightengale, Bobby (March 30, 2022). "'Just a beautiful moment': Hunter Greene makes Opening Day roster; Reds announce rotation". Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on April 13, 2022. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  26. Sheldon, Mark (April 10, 2022). "Greene reaches triple digits 20 times in MLB debut". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Archived from the original on April 12, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  27. Clark, Dave (April 16, 2022). "Cincinnati Reds' Hunter Greene sets new MLB record with 39 pitches of 100+ mph". USA Today. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  28. Sheldon, Mark (June 11, 2022). "Rookie Greene improving, but bullpen lets game get away". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved August 31, 2022.
  29. Goldsmith, Charlie (August 1, 2022). "Hunter Greene shows the Reds a glimpse of the future after trading Tommy Pham to Red Sox". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved August 31, 2022.
  30. Nightengale, Bobby (August 5, 2022). "Hunter Greene, placed on 15-day injured list, to undergo exam on shoulder". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved August 31, 2022.
  31. Sondheimer, Eric (August 1, 2014). "Baseball: Hunter Greene touches 93 mph in USA 15U victory in Mexico". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on July 14, 2018. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  32. "Chatter: Hunter Greene, U.S. 15-under national baseball team can't get past Cuba in World Cup final". Los Angeles Daily News. August 11, 2014. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  33. "USA Baseball sets final roster for U18 World Cup in Japan". USA Today. August 19, 2015. Archived from the original on September 30, 2018. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  34. Sondheimer, Eric (September 6, 2015). "Baseball: Gold medal for USA 18U team with 2–1 win over Japan". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  35. "Pitcher Hunter Greene, Reds' top prospect, makes Opening Day roster". The Athletic. March 30, 2022. Archived from the original on April 1, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  36. "Cincinnati Reds' Hunter Greene sets velocity volume record in loss to Los Angeles Dodgers". ESPN. Associated Press. April 17, 2022. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  37. Callis, Jim (March 13, 2019). "Behind the scenes with Hunter Greene". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  38. Mayo, Jonathan. "What to expect from Hunter Greene". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Archived from the original on April 10, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  39. Sutelan, Edward (April 11, 2022). "Dazzling debut: Reds' Hunter Greene's MLB debut shows elite velocity and command". The Sporting News. Archived from the original on April 12, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  40. Sawyer, Haley (October 4, 2016). "SCV local part of Team USA". The Santa Clarita Valley Signal. Archived from the original on April 17, 2021. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  41. DiGiovanna, Mike (June 9, 2017). "MLB draft will be front-loaded with Los Angeles-area talent". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on July 23, 2021. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
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