Seven decades ago, or so it certainly feels like it was that long ago in the year 2020, the Cincinnati Reds selected Hunter Greene with the #2 pick in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft. He was the consensus #1 player in the draft and the Reds were thrilled to land the then 17-year-old right-handed pitcher with the second pick.

Cincinnati took it slow with Greene – even letting him hit in a limited stint in 2017 after he joined the Billings Mustangs – before he threw a handful of innings (4.1 in three starts) to round out that season. In 2018 he was sent to pitch for the Dayton Dragons to begin the year. After a rough start to the year where his BABIP was .633 through his first five games, Greene locked in and went on a dominant run over the next 13 starts where he struck out 71 batters and walked just 13 of them with a WHIP under 1.00 and an ERA of 2.91.

Unfortunately that 13th game came at the end of July. His next start was skipped and then the next one, too, before it was announced that he had a tear in his UCL. Rather than undergo Tommy John surgery, Greene chose to give rehab and PRP injections a shot – it had worked out for other Reds pitchers, including Michael Lorenzen and Anthony DeSclafani in recent memory. Things had been going well and were on track for the young right-hander to start the year just a little bit behind everyone else. He was pitching in spring training, and in his last outing before the players were set to head out to their assigned teams, Greene re-injured his elbow – tearing his UCL again. This time he opted for Tommy John surgery and he had the procedure done on April 9th, 2019.

In his recovery from the surgery, he’s rebuilt his mechanics. Over at RedsMinorLeagues.com we took a look at the new vs. old after his first bullpen session in spring training this year. A few days after that first session is when the sports world in the United States of America shut down, and the country quickly followed suit.

With baseball still shut down, teams can’t hold practices or anything like that. What they are doing is sort of giving guys plans to do their best to follow along while they are “on their own”. Hunter Greene is doing just that, working out with other players in the area. He posted this video this past week of himself getting in a bullpen session against, what I presume, is the child of the hitter from the bullpen session that Rick Wild Thing Vaughn decapitated in Major League.

For a player like Hunter Greene, being ready to go is always the right mindset. But it might be a while before he’s allowed “to go”. While there has been no official announcement made, it appears that Major League Baseball is planning as if there will not be a minor league season in 2020. That’s not surprising given all of the talk of “taxi squads” or “practice squads” for the Major League teams in all of these proposed plans. It has been signaling all along that there wasn’t likely to be minor league teams playing this year and that these additional “squads” would be with the big league club as insurance against injuries/sickness/paternity leave/etc.

While there will almost assuredly be prospects that are going to be on the taxi squad for the Cincinnati Reds in 2020 if they get a season going, Greene – recovering from Tommy John surgery and likely still a bit further away from the Major League club as a result of it – isn’t likely to be one of the handful of true minor leaguers placed on it. Those few spots will be taken up, likely, by guys who were going to be in Double-A and Triple-A this year who are a bit closer to big league ready.

14 Responses

  1. Sean D

    Any chance he makes it just so reds can oversee rehab and development better?

    • Mark Moore

      Or they could just ship him off to Driveline to continue his rehab and development.

    • Stock

      I think he will be part of a 50 man roster. #50 will not play so you may as well have him be #50 so you can monitor his progress

    • Doug Gray

      I think you can argue things both ways with regards to having him be one of the minor league guys you bring in. On one side, you’re right – he’s the kind of guy you’d probably want to oversee a little more than just about anyone else in the organization.

      But on the flip side, he’s now 13 months post surgery and everything seems to be going great. The plan, as relayed during spring training by Shawn Pender, was that he’d probably only start pitching in games in early June. And even then it would be rather limited. So you could argue that keeping him “at home” and just having him continue to follow the plan as given to him by your staff is going to be good enough, too, and you may want to use that other roster spot for someone who may eventually be used or another prospect that’s a bit closer and could use “practice” time to develop and be ready next year – where as Greene likely wasn’t going to be ready to begin 2021 in the Majors no matter what happened.

      I think both arguments can be had and work.

      • Gonzo Reds

        I kinda like having him available for if we do play playoff caliber ball this year. He’d be great coming in for an inning or two down the stretch or in the playoffs, a real weapon. We passed on trading him for Yelich so if we’re serious about competing we should use all our chips.

  2. SultanofSwaff

    So effortless……so hard not to get excited! Yeah, he’s easily on the active roster if I’m in charge and I wouldn’t hesitate to use him in a stretch run to fortify the bullpen. All hands on deck in standard operating procedure when you a world championship is a possibility……like when the Royals used Finnegan and the Cards used Wacha.

  3. Tom Mitsoff

    Another player I wonder about for the taxi squad: Jose Garcia. Is there a good reason not to have him available to play shortstop, particularly if Galvis goes down with an injury for any length of time?

    You might be starting the service time clock, but he certainly does not look like he is three (option) years away from the majors.

    • BK

      Agree; Garcia looked very, very good in Spring Training. Small sample size alert, but he looked very close to big league ready according to my untrained eyes.

  4. Hotto4Votto

    I just watched the video of Hunter throwing a pitch through a car window to the catcher while it was moving by. Pretty impressive. Can’t wait until he’s pitching for the Reds, hopefully not too far off.

    • VaRedsFan

      I saw that….wonder how many takes it took.

      • Hotto4Votto

        I’d guess a couple, it doesn’t seem like something you just do. I can just imagine how apprehensive the driver must have been having the ball come through your window.

      • Big Ed

        The car was being pulled by a tow line, although pretty fast. They could have done it all by trial and error, but somebody likely did some arithmetic with the speed of the car and the speed needed to throw, so that it would go in the front door and out the other side’s back door.

        Note that they rolled all the windows down to avoid breaking them.

  5. JayTheRed

    Assuming he gets to play this season somewhere, I think he should be one of the replacements when Bauer probably leaves for greener ($$) pastures. I have a suspicion Cincy will at least make an offer to him and Disco too but I feel like Disco has a higher chance of re-signing with us. Just by gut feeling. I would not have a big problem with this rotation

    Castillo
    Gray
    Disco
    Greene
    Miley

    Though Mahle may make his way into this rotation if Disco does not sign.

    • tomn

      I HOPE we resign Bauer and Disco, but I understand that $ drives who will resign. I’ve come to like Bauer. I’d like to see this staff stay together a while longer, if possible. Greene is so new and coming off the TJ surgery – I’d really want to make sure he’s healthy – I’m sure we all do.

      I know Mahle has taken his lumps up in Cincy but he’s been great at every level on his way here. I think he’ll eventually be a very good SP here but he’s still working through it.

      The prospect of what our pitching staff (including the BP) including the BP is exciting. Then if we can add Garcia by next year – even late next year. I’ve loving it…