Hunter Greene turned just 18 years old in August and has a grand total of 4.1 professional baseball innings under his belt. The #2 overall pick from the 2017 MLB Draft is about as unproven from a projection prospective as they come, but that hasn’t stopped him from routinely being touted as the single best prospect in the Cincinnati system this side of Nick Senzel, a consensus Top 30 overall prospect in the game at this point.
Why? Well, because of this:
Hitting 101mph with a solid delivery, sharp slider, Hunter Greene might be better than the hype. No kidding. pic.twitter.com/W209lo0X8J— Chris Welsh (@thinkpitch) March 15, 2018
With minor league games beginning yesterday across the various Cactus League complexes, Greene was on the mound repping the Reds for the first time in 2018, and FS-Ohio’s Chris Welsh was there to watch him. And what he saw was exactly what Cincinnati scouts saw in a then 17 year old last spring, the kind of lively arm and powerful fastball that just don’t come around very often - if ever.
“You remember that article you wrote about the nastiest stuff in camp the other day?” Welsh said. “It’s obsolete now.”
That’s what Welsh had to say to C. Trent Rosecrans, who chronicled both Greene’s initial outing of 2018 and how he fits into the Reds’ future in another excellent article over at The Athletic. Welsh was far from the only one on hand to witness the outing, either, as Rosecrans noted the on-site presence of Joe Morgan, Jim Maloney, John Farrell, Dick Williams, and ESPN’s Keith Law, among others. Law was one of those keeping tabs on the radar gun, too, watching triple digits hit the screen during Greene’s 2 IP.
Obviously, it was just a mere snippet of what’s in store for Greene this year, but the 4 Ks, 101 mph heater, and scoreless pair of innings as he shook off the winter rust for the first time sure was exciting to behold. All signs point to him beginning 2018 with the Class A Dayton Dragons, so if you’re within sniffing distance of that part of the state, I’d suggest you start making plans to go watch one of the more electric pitching prospects this game has seen in quite sometime.
In other news, MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince has more on the Reds’ signing of former Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell to be a scout within the organization. As Castrovince notes, “the dirty truth is that organizations often overvalue their own talent, fall in love with the folks they scouted and groomed,” and sometimes the best way to remedy such a perspective is with the well-trained eyes of someone who’s not been around your talent at all. Farrell, a former MLB pitcher and pitching coach, hopefully can be that guy.
In a piece that’s loosely related to that idea, FanGraphs’ Jeff Sullivan takes a closer look at what he deems “The Era of Experimentation,” and it’s worth a read. In essence, Sullivan is suggesting that the very reason Castrovince cited for why Farrell is now in Reds camp is a sentiment held by other teams, too, and he lays out a pretty compelling argument given the recent free agent freeze. Citing Yonder Alonso and Logan Morrison’s relatively meager contracts after breakout years, Sullivan opines that rather than pay for projections on players whose profiles changed with tweaks to their game and breakout seasons, teams appear to be more focused on finding other players they’ve already got who can be the next to breakout given slight changes of approach. He also mentions former Red Tony Cingrani in that group given his success after joining the Los Angeles Dodgers last year, which, yeah, is some salt in a wound.
Finally, if you’ve ever landed on Baseball Reference in search of one stat in your life, odds are you’ve caught yourself back there staring at page after page of statistical data for hours at some point afterwards. It’s as deep and resourceful a statistical clearinghouse as there is for baseball data today, and obviously is the proprietor of their own in-house version of WAR. They announced yesterday that they’ve re-computed some of their existing WAR calculations based on piles of updated numbers, which means some of the numbers you’ve looked at in previous views might be slightly, slightly different. I, for one, am all about the retroactive updates, as the way in which many things - defense, for one - have been tabulated over the years have seen many significant improvements in recent years.