Thanks to his blistering fastball and prodigious power at the plate, Hunter Greene made a Sports Illustrated cover at 17 with the question: “Baseball’s LeBron or the new Babe?”
On Sunday, Greene made one of the most anticipated MLB debuts in recent memory when he took the mound for the Reds at Truist Park. The 22-year-old went five innings, yielding three earned runs on four hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts for his first career victory.
Perhaps most impressive was the flamethrower’s dominant fastball — a four-seamer averaging 99.7 mph and topping out at 101.6.
- The 2017 No. 2 overall pick inked a then-record $7.23M signing bonus, more than the $7.19M allotted in the draft slot.
- In November, the Reds purchased his contract for $700,000.
- He will be eligible for arbitration after three MLB seasons and for FA after six seasons if he doesn’t sign an extension.
- Of his 92 pitches Sunday, 20 were 100.0-plus mph — the eighth-most in a single game since 2008.
The Reds finished 20th in ERA last season (4.40), reached the postseason once in the last eight years, and haven’t won the World Series since 1990.
Greene may not reach Ruth or LeBron status, but he has the third-best odds (+600) to win the NL Rookie of the Year behind the Cubs’ Seiya Suzuki (+250) and the Pirates’ Oneil Cruz (+500).