Editor’s Note: Story has been adjusted to reflect that Greene has pitched in games, not just workouts, this spring
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Could you compare Hunter Greene to other recent high school righthanders? (Taillon, Pint, etc)
A pretty good case can be made that Greene heads into his senior year with a solid chance to be the best high school pitching prospect of the decade. The stuff compares favorably to what Lucas Giolito, Riley Pint, Tyler Kolek, Jameson Taillon and the other top high school pitching prospects of the past decade showed at a similar point in their amateur careers.
But what makes Greene special is how easily he gets to top of the scale velocity.
It wasn't that long ago that a high school pitcher throwing 100 mph was as rare as an unassisted triple play. There was Colt Griffin (2000). Then more than a decade later, there was Giolito, who may have brushed 100 mph in high school in 2012 before he injured his elbow ligament (the fastest pitch we heard of at the time was 99 mph). Two years later in 2014 Kolek regularly touched 100 mph during his high school season. Two years later Pint became the hardest-throwing U.S. high school pitcher of the radar gun era, as he consistently topped 100 mph in outings.
Now we have Greene. Greene touched 97-98 mph on occasion last summer on the showcase circuit, but after an offseason of rest and workouts, it will be a surprise if he doesn't tickle triple digits this spring. Scouts have already seen him touch 101 mph in games this month and he isn’t even fully stretched out yet.
Pint's velocity came with effort in his delivery. Greene's is easy. It makes it easier for scouts to project him to consistently locate his fastball, something he's already demonstrated. His fastball also has late life that generates swings and misses. He's also shown a potentially plus slider, a curve and a promising changeup. Many of Greene's outings last summer were notable for how brief they were—his effectiveness meant that he was often done after just a few pitches.
The 2017 draft class is a very good one. It's deep in high school arms, include some top-notch high school bats and plenty of college pitchers. But Greene (who is also a legitimate prospect as a shortstop) is the pitcher who scouts suggest has the talent to possibly become the first ever high school righthander to go first overall.