It was a rough go of it in 2018 for the most recent top picks of the Cincinnati Reds. Nick Senzel was theoretically on the cusp of his big league debut after starting the season in AAA, but a bout with vertigo kicked that can down the road before a busted finger eliminated that chance altogether. Then, fireballer Hunter Greene ran into elbow issues that ended his season and brought up the dreaded Tommy John surgery discussion, though the teen phenom and the Reds brass ultimately opted to go the rehabilitation route instead of going under the knife.
I’m knocking on wood with my fingers and eyes crossed, but it appears that route with Greene might be paying off. My source? Greene himself, who tweeted yesterday that he’s “100% and feeling great!”
Thank U Jesus! I’m 100% & feeling great! I look forward 2 continuing my training during the off season. S/O 2 every1 who supported me, @CAA_Baseball @Reds,Brad Epstein⚾️Josh Bickel⚾️Marcus Ahrens⚾️Patrick Serbus⚾️Nate Tamargo and Dr.Kremcheck & Dr.Ellattrache. Let’s go Reds 2019!— Hunter Greene (@HunterGreene17) October 29, 2018
Throws baseballs 103 mph AND breaks news. This kid really does have it all.
Greene, who just turned 19 years old in August, was limited to just 68.1 IP with Class A Dayton in 2018, and while his 4.48 ERA overall wasn’t glowing, the way he turned a corner and dominated after a rough start to the season was certainly eye-popping - especially considering he was almost 4 full years younger than league average. Over his final 13 appearances, Greene logged 58.2 IP, posting a 2.91 ERA and allowing just a .638 OPS against him, fanning 71 against just 13 walks in that time. That, folks, is why he’s still a consensus Top 40 overall prospect in the game and one with the highest upside out there, and it now appears that he’ll be able to be on the mound early and often in 2019. Considering there were once fears that surgery and rehab could cost him that entire season, that’s a pretty damn welcome development.
If you’re in or around the Daytona, FL area next year, I’d highly suggest you keep your eyes on their probable starters and get yourself a ticket to see Greene pitch for the Tortugas.
In other news, it’s beginning to look like Top Prospect Season again now that the big league year is over. Over at RedsMinorLeagues.com, Doug Gray got started on his Top 25 prospects in the Cincinnati system, and Greene certainly features prominently. Doug’s releasing his list in chunks of five every day this week, with 1-5 having dropped on Monday and 6-10 gracing our presence today. I’ve got to admit, that’s a pretty dang saucy Top 10 so far, showing just how much depth this farm has built up over the last few years.
Speaking of answering fan questions, our friends over at Pinstripe Alley did some Q & A earlier this week, including an interesting question about Sonny Gray’s trade value since the Nashville native and former Oakland Athletic is readily available on the trade market. They didn’t dive into specifics, but Gray and his lone year of team control certainly are intriguing from a Reds perspective, even if it’d be ideal if they could land someone with a longer-term time frame. In another PSA piece, they mention how he might be better suited on a team that leans more fastball-heavy than breaking ball heavy, and it’s interesting to note how Gray’s FB % dropped from as high as 64.6% while with Oakland to just 35.1% with New York last year despite maintaining his 93 mph velocity. Meanwhile, the Reds just so happened to have their pitchers throw fastballs at the second highest rate in all MLB last year, and for crap’s sake we know they’re looking for pitching additions...
Finally, The Enquirer’s John Fay took a quick look at some of the moves you might see from the Reds in the coming month, including a few interesting suggestions on players who might well get non-tendered.