When healthy, there are few (if any) arms on the planet like the right one of Cincinnati Reds pitcher Hunter Greene. He has possessed some of the easiest gas in the game since he was a 17 year old, his 102 mph fastball and easy delivery making him the #2 overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft.
Injuries paired with a pandemic-induced cancellation of the 2020 minor league season have still managed to keep him something of a secret. As we near the four-year anniversary of him being drafted, he still owns just 72.2 IP under his professional belt, none of which have come since 2018. That said, he was healthy again after Tommy John surgery while at Cincinnati’s auxiliary camp during the 2020 season, and was reportedly back to his old tricks. As Keith Law of The Athletic noted, Greene has even bulked up in his time off, and the now 21 year old’s secondary stuff has evolved enough to where a 2021 MLB debut isn’t at all out of the question.
That combination of unrealized potential and current health led Law to rank Greene 28th overall on his latest Top 100 overall prospect list, the headliner of Cincinnati’s current farm system. That’s up from 30th overall on last year’s list, an advancement the rest of the Reds system cannot also claim.
After checking in at 78th prior to a 2020 season that was never actually played, Nick Lodolo slipped all the way down to 100th on Law’s 2021 list. That effectively ranks him 3rd in the Reds system, as Jonathan India - who wasn’t on Law’s list at all in 2020 - entered the rankings at 88th after a 2020 alt-site campaign that showed a healthy wrist and a return of some of the power than made him the 5th overall selection in the 2018 MLB Draft. Jose Garcia, who debuted on Law’s list in 2020 at 93rd overall before making his big league debut later that season, fell off the list entirely. Neither Tyler Stephenson nor Austin Hendrick, both of whom have popped up on multiple other Top 100 overall prospect lists, made the cut with Law, either.
Unsurprisingly, a trio of former Reds draftees made the list, too. Each of Josiah Gray (39th, Los Angeles Dodgers), Jeter Downs (56th, IF - Boston Red Sox), and Taylor Trammell (97th, OF - Seattle Mariners) all made the cut, and it’s quite likely each makes their big league debut during the 2021 season.
Wunderkind Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays repeated as the #1 overall prospect on Law’s list, a feat that’s remarkable in its own right. Factor in that he doesn’t even turn 20 years old until March 1st, and it’s a testament to just how highly rated the native of Bani, Dominican Republic is in the eyes of evaluators, as he has universally been tabbed as the top prospect in the game so far this winter.