Logan Webb got himself a contract extension from the San Francisco Giants just a few days ago, and now it appears to be Hunter Greene’s turn:
BREAKING: Right-hander Hunter Greene and the Cincinnati Reds are in agreement on a six-year, $53 million contract extension that includes a seventh-year option, pending physical, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. Details free and unlocked at ESPN: https://t.co/Z7Lp7rDaum— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 18, 2023
Per Passan, the deal starts this season and basically buys out Greene’s arbitration years — the 23-year-old would have first been eligible in the 2025 season — plus two years of free agency. It represents a significant commitment for the Cincinnati Reds, who amazingly didn’t have a single cent of salary guaranteed beyond this year. It also provides some security for Greene, who’s fast becoming one of baseball’s most promising young pitchers but wouldn’t have been able to test the market until 2028, at age 29.
The second overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft out of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California, Greene has always been blessed with a prodigious arm — capable of topping out around 103 mph on the radar gun with his four-seam fastball.
Reds announce that top prospect Hunter Greene and his 102 MPH fastball will make their MLB debut on April 10— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) March 30, 2022
(h/t @PitchingNinja) pic.twitter.com/MEV49JH5ki
That velocity didn’t necessarily translate into results, however — at least until 2021, when Greene blew through Double-A with a 1.98 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 41 innings. He continued that success in Triple-A last year, eventually earning his call to the Majors. He had an up-and-down first taste of the bigs, with strikeout totals that hinted at immense promise next to an ERA (4.44) that was more mediocre.
This year, though, the righty has taken another step forward, commanding his fastball with much more authority in the top half of the zone and, in turn, allowing his slider to be much more effective. Along with Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft, the Reds now have a starting trio to build around for the future.