Hunter Greene, the No. 1 prospect in this year’s draft class, confirmed in a telephone interview that he is officially done pitching for the high school season. Notre Dame High (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) head coach Tom Dill informed the team after today’s practice that Greene will not pitch again this season.
Greene is 100 percent healthy, and will continue playing shortstop and throwing bullpens to stay in shape so that he could resume pitching in games this summer after the draft.
This season, Greene has made five starts and tossed 28 innings. He has allowed three earned runs, struck out 43 and walked four. In his career at Notre Dame, Greene has accumulated 121.1 innings and posted a 1.62 ERA (on a seven-inning high school scale). He’s struck out 30 percent of the batters he’s faced over his four years, and 41 percent of the batters he has faced this season.
Greene’s fastball has peaked at 102 mph this season on some scouts’ radar guns, while others have seen him top out at 101. His slowest fastball of the season was 95 mph. He has shown promise with his slider and changeup and impressive command. There are varying opinions in the scouting community on Greene’s breaking pitches, though most see his slider ahead of his curveball at this point. His slider projects as a plus pitch long term and Greene’s outstanding athleticism—coupled with his being just 17 years old and a high baseball IQ—leads scouts to believe he will have no trouble developing a deep arsenal of pitches to compete at the major league level, potentially at the front of a rotation.
Greene has worked with long toss guru Alan Jaeger since he was seven years old and has been cognizant of arm care techniques and recommended rest periods throughout his development. Rumors have surfaced about Greene trying to slide to the Padres—who pick third—but that would only be the case if he is passed on by the Twins, who hold the top pick.
Following Greene’s last start on April 7 he and his family met with Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey. Greene has developed positive relationships with several members of the Twins’ front office and player development staff, including Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and special assistants to baseball operations LaTroy Hawkins and Torii Hunter. The Twins’ and the Padres’ approaches to pitching development align more so with Greene’s philosophy than that of the Reds, who pick in between the two.
In meetings with teams throughout the fall and spring, Greene has asked teams about their player development strategies and developmental plans to not only help him get to the major leagues, but develop into the star player many evaluators envision him becoming.
The decision for Dill to shut Greene down on the mound follows a similar trend that has taken hold in football, where players such as running backs Leonard Fournette (LSU) and Christian McCaffrey (Stanford), both projected first-round picks in this week’s NFL draft, chose not to play in bowl games, in order to stay healthy and prepare for the draft. The timing of the baseball draft makes this a rare decision, as high school and college teams are still competing leading up to the draft, while the college football season ends months in advance of the NFL draft.
Notre Dame has a comfortable 4 1/2-game lead in Southern California’s competitive Mission League. Sophomore righthander Carter Kessinger and freshman lefthander Lucas Gordon both give the team a chance a strong chance to compete in the CIF playoffs. Greene will continue to play shortstop and hit in the middle of the lineup for Notre Dame. He is a good prospect at shortstop with graceful infield actions, top-of-the-scale arm strength and excellent range. Greene also shows plus-plus raw power in batting practice and can put on a show in home run derbies. His upside on the mound, however, makes him more likely to be a pitcher at the next level.
Rumors have been floated about Greene shutting things down for a couple weeks. While he did not pitch in last week’s Boras Classic, Greene had not officially been shut down until today. Greene has taken the rumors and scrutiny well, and said tonight that he understands that rumors are part of the process.