Hunter Greene won’t look to the past. The 18-year-old phenom doesn’t have time for reminiscing.
Just over a year ago, Greene appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated alongside a headline declaring him as the game’s best next prospect.
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From there, Greene was drafted second overall by the Reds in the 2017 MLB Draft. He was promoted through rookie ball and completed his first Spring Training with the MLB organization in March.
Now he’s coming off the best career start of his Midwest League career.
Greene struck out five, issued no walks and allowed just two hits in four inning of work in Saturday night’s game against Peoria at Fifth Third Field. The right-hander left the game with Dayton leading 3-0, but the Dragons’ bullpen squandered the lead and lost 4-3 as the Chiefs swept the three-game series.
“I’m not looking back in the past,” Greene said. “It’s time to get to work. I’ve got more to focus on than just Sports Illustrated, high school, or the draft.”
Greene’s reputation has grown because of the laser attached to his right shoulder and he didn’t disappoint the Fifth Third Field faithful, touching 98-99 mph on a consistent basis.
The Reds’ No. 2 overall prospect seemed a little more pumped up with two strikes, hitting 100 on the radar gun in his first and last strikeouts of the game.
“A lot of guys couldn’t catch up to [the fastball] and I was just confident with my stuff,” he said.
Greene started mixing in off-speed pitches in the fourth inning.
He didn’t throw off-speed early because Dragon’s pitching coach Seth Etherton and Reds’ minor league pitching coordinator Tony Fossas came to an agreement that he needed to use his fastball.
“…That’s the plan they have for him,” said Bolivar, also noting that Greene was on a 65-pitch count.
Greene skipped his last scheduled start Tuesday to take some extra time to prepare for the Chiefs.
Dividends were returned immediately.
Greene has struggled in the first inning all season. He had a 19.29 ERA and the opposition was batting .481 against him during the first frame entering Saturday’s game.
“He needed to get back to really trusting his fastball, moving his feet,” Etherton said. “The first pitch of game, I think it set the tone.”
Pitch counts are nothing new to Greene, who said he was on an 80-85 pitch count during his prep career.
Hearing Bolivar speak, it sounds like the Reds’ organization will continue to monitor how many pitches their star-in-waiting will throw, at least for a little while longer,
“We’ll see how things pan out later on,” Bolivar said.
Dragons tales: Dayton jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first courtesy of a two-run home run from DH Andy Sugilio.
Catcher Hendrik Clementina followed up in the second with a solo shot, which tied him for first in MWL league with seven homers.
The bullpen couldn’t preserve the lead.
Despite early success off Peoria starter Jake Walsh, the Dragons’ bats didn’t have much luck deeper in the game.
Walsh pitched 7 1/3 innings, giving up three earned runs, walking three and striking out five.
The Dragons were off Sunday and travel to Lansing on Monday.