Hunter Greene, the No. 2 pick in Major League Baseball's 2017 draft, made his big-league debut on Sunday for the Cincinnati Reds. His first assignment was a tough one, as he was tasked with facing the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves.
Greene, who CBS Sports ranked as the No. 26 prospect in the minors entering the spring, required 92 pitches to get through five innings. He surrendered three runs on four hits (two of them home runs) and three walks. He struck out seven of the 21 batters he faced, and generated 14 whiffs on 41 swings overall.
Greene has been best known for his elite arm strength. One rival talent evaluator quipped to CBS Sports last week that 100 mph for Greene is akin to 95 mph for the average pitcher. Sure enough, his heater averaged 99.7 mph on Sunday, according to Statcast's measurement. Predictably, his fastball was his primary pitch, accounting for more than 60 percent of his overall offerings.
Of Greene's two secondaries, his slider showed greater effectiveness, as he coerced five empty swings on 11 attempts. His changeup, conversely, registered just one whiff on five swings. Greene threw 23 sliders and 13 changeups on the afternoon.
The Reds were able to provide Greene with an early lead, as Braves right-hander Ian Anderson failed to get through three innings. Tyler Stephenson, Tyler Naquin, Nick Senzel, Colin Moran, and Kyle Farmer all drove in runs for the Reds.
Greene won't be the only hyped Reds pitching prospect to debut over the course of the season's first week. Left-hander Nick Lodolo, the 20th best prospect entering the spring in CBS Sports' estimation, will make his debut on Wednesday against the Cleveland Guardians. Greene is slated to take the mound again next weekend vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers.