By Conrad Clowers
Herald Sports Writer
It’s been a long time since the Reds had a diamond in the rough with the value of a young Hunter Greene. After being drafted first by the Reds and second overall in the 2017 MLB draft Greene, is thought by many to be the next Dwight Gooden. After 4 long years in the minor leagues, Greene is now part of the Reds’ rotation. Thus far, inconsistency has been what has stood out. Will the real Hunter Green show himself? This past weekend, in only his second month in the majors Greene has already tossed a no hitter. Greene combined with another Reds’ pitcher to no hit the pirates in a 1-0 loss. Yes, a loss. This is a far cry from a previous start in which the hot Reds’ prospect gave up four home runs.
Many great MLB pitchers have had rough first years, only to turn it around to be hall of famers. In his first year as a full time starter, Greg Maddux went 6-14 with a 5.61 ERA. Tom Glavine was 7-17 with a 4.56 ERA. Both went on to Hall of Fame careers. It is far too early to say if Greene will have that type of career, or if he will have an injury plagued career of ups and downs. His potential is Hall of Fame worthy though. Greene already has a record where, in only his second start, he holds the record (39) with the most pitches over 100 mph.
The Reds do not have a reputation for being a pitching factory. They have had few and far between great prospects that have gone on to have stellar baseball careers. The last was Johnny Cueto. Ultimately Cueto priced himself out of a Reds’ uniform and was traded to the San Francisco Giants. With the economics of baseball a successful Hunter Greene career could and probably would cut Greene’s time in Cincinnati. The Reds would not likely have the money for a 30-35 million dollar-a-year contract Greene would ask for if he is among the top pitchers in MLB, once his contract is up.
Greene has West Coast roots. He was born in Los Angeles in 1999. When he was only 7 years old he joined the MLB Urban Youth academy in Compton, California. It was there that he learned how to pitch. His natural talent took over from there. Currently Greene is 0-1 with a 7 ERA and 11 strikeouts. Win, lose, or draw, Reds fans already have something exciting to see every time Greene takes the mound. He joins a historical list of past Reds such as Rob Dibble, Aroldis Chapman, and Scott Williamson, who are all pitchers who could hit triple digits on the jugs gun. Greene is the first starter doing it. Will he last without constant injuries? Only time will tell.