The Reds promoted Greene from Double-A Chattanooga to Triple-A Louisville on Sunday, Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 first-year player draft has been magnificent in his return to action in 2021 after having his last two seasons of minor-league ball wiped out by Tommy John surgery and the coronavirus pandemic. Through his seven outings at Chattanooga, Greene posted a 1.98 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 60:14 K:BB in 41 innings, which was enough to convince the Reds he was ready for a stiffer test. The Reds will likely remain cognizant of managing Greene's innings carefully the rest of the way, but if the big club remains in playoff contention in the second half and if the 21-year-old continues to perform at a high level at Triple-A, he could be in the mix for a late-season promotion to Cincinnati.
Greene won a pitcher's duel for Double-A Chattanooga with Pensacola's Max Meyer on Friday night, throwing six shutout innings while striking out nine, Nick Trujillo of MLB.com reports. Greene remains on fire for Chattanooga. He has at least seven strikeouts in every start and hasn't allowed more than three runs in any given start. He walked four batters Friday night, which is about the only blemish on his record this year, but even then his 3.1 BB/9 is accompanied by an elevated strikeout rate.
Greene was named the Double-A South Player of the Week after he posted a 1.64 ERA, 0.69 WHIP and 17 strikeouts in 11 innings over his last two starts with Chattanooga. Despite sitting out the entire 2019 season following Tommy John surgery and then not pitching in 2020 due to the cancellation of the minor-league season, Greene hasn't missed a beat in his return to competitive action. Through his first three outings at Chattanooga, Greene has used his blazing triple-digit fastball to rack up 25 strikeouts while holding hitters to a .143 average over 16 innings. The 21-year-old right-hander looks to be neck and neck with Double-A rotation mate Nick Lodolo as the best pitching prospect in Cincinnati's organization.
Greene won his first start in a real game in 1,014 days on Wednesday, allowing one run over five innings at Double-A Chattanooga. He struck out eight while giving up three hits and no walks. Thirty-seven of his 43 fastballs were clocked at 100 mph or higher, C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic reports. It wasn't just that the velocity was there, though that was pretty impressive in its own right. But his placement of the fastball was better, and he got three strikeouts looking on his slider. The latter aspect of his start is critical -- for his fastball to be effective, he needs to make his slider a credible threat to opposing hitters.
Greene's first three pitches in Tuesday's spring training game against the Angels hit 101, 102 and 103 mph respectively, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. It was Greene's first game action since 2018. "His fastball is elite," catcher Tucker Barnhart underscored. "If you look in the baseball dictionary, and 'easy cheese' was in there, it would be like a picture or video of him. It's incredible how hard he throws." While the easy velocity was impressive, Greene struggled to get outs, albeit against major-league hitters. He allowed three earned runs on three hits and a walk, striking out one. Considering that Greene hasn't pitched above A ball yet, he'll surely open the season in the minors, likely at High-A Dayton.
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