Hunter Greene’s lackluster back-to-back outings are cause for concern

For the second game in a row, Hunter Greene did not exceed 100 mph. But the Cincinnati Reds rookie saw 99.1 mph on the radar gun, so that’s a step in the right direction.

After getting two more days off, Greene saw his fastball average hit 96.7 mph. It’s certainly an improvement over the start of April 22 when Greene’s four-seam fastball averaged just 95.8 mph. That was after hitting over 100 mph on the radar gun 39 times in Los Angeles.

I maintain that Greene’s inability to get his fastball up to 100 mph or more greatly affects his ability to take out opposing hitters. That out-of-this-world speed paired with the ability to throw a 90mph switch or an 87mph slider with tremendous bite is what has made Greene the best pitching prospect he is.

Hunter Greene admitted after the game that he didn’t feel 100% healthy. But under these circumstances, Greene said he had to “go ahead and get out there and just compete.” This might suggest that Greene isn’t hurt as much as he might be tired. Only he and the Reds coaching staff know for sure.

But one last thing is certain, and that is that Greene has to find the strike zone. Last night’s game saw the right-hander deliver four free passes in 4.1 innings of work.

It’s now back-to-back games where Greene has been beaten by four opposing batters. The rookie didn’t walk a single performance against the Los Angeles Dodgers in California and scored just two batters in his first major league start in Atlanta.

Greene’s 10 steps rank third among Cincinnati starters behind Vladimir Gutierrez (15) and Tyler Mahle (11). Mahle, however, has one extra start and four more runs under his belt this season.

Greene also served two home runs last night, but that’s to be expected. With as hard as Greene throws, if a batter makes good contact, there’s a good chance the ball will leave the court; especially in the thin air of Denver, Colorado. The average exit speed on Greene’s fastball was 104.3 mph, so when the Rockies batters were able to face off, that ball hit hard.

Former Colorado Rockies pitcher Phillip Diehl also had a less than stellar performance. After his debut with the Cincinnati Reds went two scoreless innings earlier this week, Diehl allowed four runs on five hits while walking two. The Rockies batters had an average exit speed of 106.6 mph on Diehl’s radiator.

It’s sometimes hard to remember that Hunter Greene is only 22, so there are bound to be some growing pains. One thing you can’t do in the big leagues, though, is put runners on base without them swinging the bat. Greene is expected to win the ball next Thursday in Milwaukee.

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