Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Hunter Appears in Dayton

Y'know, I was really hoping that Hunter Greene would get assigned to the Greeneville Reds in both of their first years. It would have been worth it for the wordplay if nothing else. However, it looks like the Reds have made the proper choice when they assigned him to the Dayton Dragons.

On Monday, I watched as Greene started for the first time for the Dragons against the Lake County Captains. He only pitched three innings, but those three innings were instructive. In those innings he got eight strike outs and gave up no walks, but he also allowed five hits and two runs. It was a mixed bag which showed a lot of talent as well as a need to develop his talents.

CAVEAT: I'm not a pitching coach and anybody that even considered hiring me to do that job should take a quick trip to the loony bin. What follows comes from my memory of watching Hunter Greene pitch two days back and I've not gone back to break his pitching down in slow motion or anything that would lend credence or weight to my *ahem* "analysis." That said, here is my totally unqualified analysis:

To my eye, he got away with pitches that won't work at AA or above. He fooled a number of single A batters who pursued balls that ran out of the strike zone. He also seemed to have a tendency to pitch from behind, giving up two or three balls before coming back to get his strikes. I also think he was trying a little too hard - pushing to hurl the ball with velocity and losing control as a result.

He was throwing fast balls and what appeared to be fairly good breaking balls. The fast balls seemed to come in two types. There was a fastball down which seemed often to go too low at a (maybe too?) steep angle (sliders?). There was also a fast ball high which seemed to rise as it came in and left batters swinging under it. The breaking balls seemed to vary in the amount of their breaks from ones that looped a little and still remained fairly high to ones that dropped rather severely. I didn't spot a change-up and don't remember the announcers calling one either. Most of his strike outs seemed to come from the breaking balls either getting over the plate or causing the batters to chase them out of the zone. The batters were clearly looking for his fast balls and I don't think they were prepared for pitches that broke.

I want to see how Greene is doing in his fourth or fifth start. By that point he should have settled down and I expect his pitching will improve as he goes along. At the same time, there will be more video to study and batters should be better prepared for him. The batters seemed totally unprepared for his breaking stuff on Monday. A month or two in that should not be the case and we should get a better feel for exactly how good those pitches are.

All-in-all, I'm sad to say that Hunter Greene is exactly where he needs to be to develop his talents and we shouldn't be seeing him in Greeneville at all this year unless he regresses in some manner that I do not anticipate. Hopefully he'll stay in Dayton for a year to eighteen months to develop and then move up to AA and start working his way up through the tougher leagues. There's a lot of potential here and, God willing, the Reds won't push him up too hard or too fast so that when he hits the MLB he'll be as good as he ought to be.

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