The Cincinnati Reds haven't brought much heat to the 2022 season yet, but rookie pitcher Hunter Greene has.
Greene, who routinely throws triple-digit fastballs, has emerged as one of the few bright lights in a season that puts the Reds in last place of all Major League Baseball franchises. In just 10 innings over two games, Greene has a max exit velocity of 110.08 MPH, according to MLB's Statcast, the tool that tracks and analyzes player actions. His favorite pitch, the four-seam fastball, routinely hits 100 MPH.
And now Greene has claimed an MLB record thanks to that pitch.
During the Reds' April 16 loss against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Greene threw 39 pitches that reached 100 MPH or higher — including several at 101 and 102 — setting a new record for the most triple-digit heat in a single game since pitch tracking began in 2008. Greene stole the crown from Jacob deGrom, who made 33 pitches of 100+ MPH for the New York Mets on June 5, 2021.
According to MLB writer Sarah Langs, Greene also hit some other milestones, including top pitch velocity of the day, the most 101 MPH pitches in a game (with 13) and the most 101 MPH strikeouts in a game (with two, tied with deGrom and Justin Verlander, who was with the Detroit Tigers at the time).
Most 100.0+ mph pitches in game, pitch-tracking era (since 2008):— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) April 17, 2022
**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
Greene had six strikeouts in his second quality start, favoring his heater during his 80 pitches until Trea Turner grabbed a fastball for a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Hunter Greene pitch-tracking era records tonight:— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) April 17, 2022
- 100 mph pitches in game (39)
- 101 mph pitches by SP in game (13)
- 101 mph K’s by SP in game (2, tied w/deGrom + Verlander)
Greene, a Los Angeles native, had friends and family watching at Dodger Stadium as he set the new velocity record, MLB writer Luca Evans reported.
"I teared up at the end, when I got pulled out (of the game), just to look out and see the stadium and all the lights," Greene told reporters.
Greene's April 16 outing follows his April 10 MLB debut, in which Greene dazzled fans with 20 triple-digit heaters, throwing 56 strikes out of 92 pitches.
Greene is living up to his billing as the Reds' No. 1 prospect and the No. 2 overall selection in the 2017 draft. MLB previously reported that Greene had thrown 100+ MPH in high school, earning him a Sports Illustrated cover. Before this season began, a panel of MLB writers said that Greene has a shot at the MLB's National League Rookie of the Year award, which Reds second baseman Jonathan India earned in 2021. CBS Sports writer Mike Axisa agreed with Greene's upside, predicting he'll be the "hardest-throwing starter ever."
Drafted by the Reds in 2017, Greene played in the minors until injuries took him out in 2019 and 2020.
The young pitching phenom is an exciting foil to the Reds' overall disappointing start to the season. In addition to losing Greene's start, the Reds also lost to the Dodgers 1-9 on April 17. In fact, Cincinnati hasn't won a game since April 10, when the Reds split the season's opening four-game series with the Atlanta Braves.
If you're counting, that's six losses in a row for the Reds. The team's 2-8 record (.200) is good for the worst record in the majors, as of April 18.
The season already has been demonstrably bad, and fans aren't pleased with the Reds' front office. Cincinnati's Opening Day at home — and, honestly, the whole week — took a dark turn when Phil Castellini, the Reds' chief operating officer and son of team owner Bob Castellini, taunted fans for (rightfully) questioning why the front office continues to trade productive players instead of building a World Series-contending team. Former Red Nick Castellanos, who was one of the team's top players and whom the Reds let go to free agency, has been commenting more and more about how players and fans feel when ownership doesn't invest for the long haul. And the Florence Y'alls reminded Castellini that fans, indeed, can see professional baseball elsewhere in Greater Cincinnati.
With the Reds losing big contributors and Bob Castellini saying he wants to concentrate on younger players, fans — and even players like first baseman Joey Votto — are anxious about 2022 being yet another "rebuilding season" rather than a legitimate push for playoff glory. During the COVID-shortened 2020 season, the Reds made it to the Wild Card playoffs but lost the first round to the Atlanta Braves without scoring at all; before that, Cincinnati hadn't been to the postseason since 2013. The Reds have had just five winning seasons out of the last 15.
The Cincinnati Reds will kick off a visiting series with the San Diego Padres at 9:40 p.m. (Eastern) on April 18
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