Greene looking forward to first full season
Highly touted prospect hopes to start 2018 season in Class A
By Mark Sheldon MLB.com @m_sheldon
CINCINNATI — Although the Reds have not made an official decision yet, Reds pitching prospect Hunter Greene is dreaming on the idea of beginning his 2018 season at Class A Dayton.
“I guess they sell out every game,” Greene said Thursday during an interview with MLB Hot Stove on MLB Network. “There should be a good crowd and a lot of support from the fans, which is great to see. I’ll have a great time out there, meet some new guys and go win as many games as possible.”
Greene, 18, was the second overall pick by the Reds in the 2017 Draft and is ranked as Cincinnati’s No. 2 prospect and No. 18 overall by MLB Pipeline.
Dayton, Ohio, and the team’s home at Fifth Third Field, is about an hour from Cincinnati. That is, of course, Greene’s ultimate destination as a professional.
The Reds, including senior director of player development Jeff Graupe, have not made a firm commitment as to when exactly Greene might begin pitching in Dayton.
“Like we do with every individual player, we’re going to create a plan to best manage the year,” Graupe told MLB.com on Thursday. “Hunter is coming off of a season where he had limited innings and pitches thrown. Just progressing him safely, but at a challenging level, will be the key for the 2018 season. We’ll manage his timeline with what we think will be best for him, long term.”
Greene enjoyed his first professional games at the Reds’ Short Season affiliate in Billings, Mont. Before he was drafted, he was viewed as a potential two-way player since he can also hit and play shortstop at an elite level. But the right-hander, who can throw 100 mph, is glad that the Reds have him pitching exclusively.
“I love to be in control of the game,” Greene said. “When I have the rock in my hand and I’m on the mound, it’s like I’m in complete control of the whole baseball game. I like to do that and be on that island and feel like I can control everything, pound the zone and just go after guys on the mound. It’s something I really look forward to.”
Greene has spent his offseason working on building strength for his first full year as a professional. But on Sunday in Inglewood, Calif., he spent time giving back. He held his first leadership camp, baseball exhibition and community festival and had guests like Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard, Reds great Eric Davis and Hall of Famer Dave Winfield.
Greene, who grew up in nearby Santa Clarita, did not want to wait until he was in the Major Leagues to start doing community outreach.
“I wanted to give the kids something that I had. I think having the right resources and the right people around you to tell you how to succeed and fulfill your dreams is the biggest part,” Greene said. “I wanted them to have that connection with the right coaches and the right people to help them as much as they can.”
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.