So Did Hunter Greene Have a 105.2 MPH Fastball or Not on Opening Day?

That moment will live in Reds fans' minds forever.

Mar 31, 2023 at 2:16 pm
click to enlarge Cincinnati Reds pitcher Hunter Greene throws to the plate during the season opener at Great American Ball Park on March 30, 2023. - Photo: Ron Valle
Photo: Ron Valle
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Hunter Greene throws to the plate during the season opener at Great American Ball Park on March 30, 2023.

Opening day for the Cincinnati Reds always is magical for fans and players alike. But the 2023 season is bringing some new aspects to the game that will be scrutinized through October.

The Pittsburgh Pirates eked out a 5-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds during the March 30 season opener at Great American Ball Park. Both teams dealt with violating pitch clock regulations – something that had been implemented in the minor leagues and brought to the majors this year to speed up the game (pitchers have 15 seconds with nobody on and 20 seconds if there is a baserunner to start their delivery). Reds starter Hunter Greene notched his violation in the third inning, while Pirates starter Mitch Keller had his in the fourth.

Greene had eight strikeouts in 83 pitches but landed in trouble and came out after the first out in the fourth inning. But the 2022 rookie phenom known for his fastball broke 100 MPH on several pitches and even fired off a 105.2 MPH heater.

Or did he?

"Was that number right? Did that number say 105 [MPH]? Is that right?" Reds broadcaster John Sadak exclaimed on air.

The Reds' social media manager became excited, too.

Statcast validated the speedball (which was called for a ball) at first but then later removed it from the record, as noted by statistician Joel Lackhaupt.

"Statcast has scrubbed 105.2 from the record," Lackhaupt tweeted. How would that velocity compare to other heaters? Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman threw 105.8 MPH in 2010, the fastest pitch on record. Elsewhere on 2023's opening day – which saw all 30 franchises competing simultaneously for the first time since 1968 – St. Louis Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks threw 103.8 MPH, good for the day's high mark.

The possibility for Greene is there. During the April 16 game last year, the rookie 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.

Alas, the opening day excitement over 105.2 MPH was just an error, Statcast ruled.

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