Fantasy season is just around the corner, and that mean that it’s time to do some research. Reds pitcher Hunter Greene electrified at times in Cincinnati last season, but how highly should he be valued come 2023? It’s hard given his stuff, so let’s start by going over both the good and the bad from his 2022 season.
A Look at Greene
Just from looking at Hunter Greene‘s strikeout numbers from last season, it’s not hard to see why there was so much hype surrounding the former California product. The flamethrower struck out 164 over 125.2 IP, good for a 11.7 K/9 in his rookie season. That strikeout rate was second-best among rookies — only Braves RHP Spencer Strider (13.8) had a higher one among first-year pitchers — and sixth-best among all pitchers (min. 100 IP).
It’s a curious figure, given that Greene didn’t possess an above-average chase rate. If one looks at the total amount of strikeouts Greene elicited with his slider, the vast majority of those came on pitches in the zone. But with Greene’s stuff, it’s not hard to see how he missed so many bats nonetheless.
The right-hander boasts one of the league’s hardest and effective fastballs, a pitch that had an average speed of 98.9 MPH. Greene struck out 82 hitters with the heater, with most on fastballs up in the zone.
Orange indicates swinging strikes, while red are for called strikes.
In addition to his fantastic fastball, Greene also boasts a plus slider and a changeup that was not used all that much last season. The 23-year-old only used the change about 5% of the time in 2022. Not many pitchers can get away with a heavy two-pitch mix, but Greene can be considered an outlier.
While Hunter Greene showed plenty of swing-and-miss stuff last season, there were some problems in his first season in the Majors. Below-average BB% rates hurt Greene, and hitters pounded on his stuff when contact was made. The 23-year-old yielded a 9.4% Barrel%, well below the league average. All of that resulted in a tilted 5-13 record for Greene, and a rough 4.44 ERA.
2023 Fantasy Outlook
Greene has the potential to be an elite starter in the Majors, but the 23-year-old is not there just yet. The Reds youngster has the best stuff out of a rotation that includes fellow Reds youngster Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft, and Justin Dunn. But, Greene still needs some refinement going forward.
The Reds starter’s gaudy strikeout numbers from last season should get fantasy players buzzing about Greene’s future. However, there’s a lot that works against Greene’s value for this upcoming season. The right-hander needs to show improvement with command, first and foremost. Even if Greene can do that this season, the Reds are projected to be one of the league’s worst pitchers this season. The righty won just five games last season, a figure that should go up in 2023. However, it’s hard to feel confident that Greene can crack double digits in wins for the first time in his MLB career given the state of the Reds.
Greene can be a nice find in the mid-to-late rounds in drafts, as he does have the potential to quickly rise up in the fantasy ranks. However, he’s not someone that we have in our top 30-40 starters entering 2023.