Two starts into his MLB career, Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Hunter Greene is exactly as advertised.
Simply put, the rookie right-hander who went second overall in the 2017 MLB draft thanks to his easy triple-digit speed is lighting up the radar gun like no other pitcher in recent MLB history, if any MLB history.
Greene made his second start for the Reds on Saturday at Dodger Stadium. By results, the Los Angeles native was strong enough, shutting down the Dodgers for five innings until Trea Turner homered to break a scoreless tie in the sixth. He finished with a line of 5.1 innings pitched with five hits, three runs (two earned) and six strikeouts.
By pitch data, however, Greene was something else. His four-seam fastball averaged 100.2 mph and topped out at 102.0 mph, with Dodgers hitters whiffing 13 times on 28 swings, in addition to 10 called strikes.
Greene's 39 pitches with triple-digit heat were the most the league has seen in one game in the pitch tracking era (i.e. since 2008).
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 17, 2022
Greene beat out a pitcher by the name of Jacob deGrom for the record.
Most 100.0+ mph pitches in game, pitch-tracking era (since 2008):
**Tonight Hunter Greene: 39**
6/5/21 Jacob deGrom: 33
5/19/19 Jordan Hicks: 29
8/19/15 Nathan Eovaldi: 28
5/31/21 deGrom: 27
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) April 17, 2022
Of course, it wasn't all good. Greene would eventually take the loss in a 5-2 Dodgers win.
Greene is only 22 years old, though, so even allowing two earned runs against what is expected to be a historically good Dodgers lineup is a good sign for a pitcher the Reds are hoping can become an ace. He now holds a 4.35 ERA with 13 strikeouts and two walks in 10.1 innings pitched across two starts.
Greene entered this season as the No. 22 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline. His prospect stock diminished after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2019, but a solid 2021 season split between Double-A and Triple-A put him back on the map once it was clear his stuff has survived the surgery.
Injury remains a concern for Greene — it's basically omnipresent for any starting pitcher who regularly throws in the triple digits. That doesn't mean what Greene did on Saturday isn't worth noting, though, and something to be excited about for the future.