Will upside make Hunter Greene the top pick on draft day?
SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. — Hunter Greene of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks is the best prospect in this year’s draft class. That’s just considering him as a right-handed pitcher, but he would also be a top-10 talent as a shortstop, where he’s a plus defender with raw power at the plate.
On Friday night, Greene made what was rumored to be his last pitching appearance of the season at Notre Dame — a high school with a baseball stadium that would put some Division I college facilities to shame — and showed the huge fastball and athleticism that make him almost certain to be one of the top two picks of the draft in June.
Greene started the game throwing 96-98 mph, and I didn’t get a fastball reading under 94 in his seven innings of work. I saw one gun reading at 99, but 98 was the highest I got; he has hit 101 in shorter outings. Greene’s fastball doesn’t have much life, but it’s very easy, and he showed some ability to both sink it and elevate it for swings and misses. He threw two changeups, both 89 mph, one in the dirt and one pretty good, especially because he maintained his arm speed.
The biggest question mark within Greene’s present arsenal is his breaking ball. He’s throwing both a curveball and slider now and they run into each other. On Friday night you could see how he was raising his arm to get some forced angle on the curveball, but I think he’s going to end up a slider guy; his arm is too fast for him not to have at least a grade 55 slider, and once he’s sticking with a single pitch, he will get a consistent grip and release point on the pitch.