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Written by: Kenta Hagiwara


Play Ball!


The Cincinnati Reds season is right around the corner and starts… this Thursday! The tradition of Cincinnati hosting their Opening Day series continues this year as the Reds play host to the division rival Pittsburgh Pirates for a 3-game series. The Reds currently (as of 3/27/23) have Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft scheduled to pitch against Pittsburgh, while the Pirates have just Mitch Keller slotted in as their Opening Day starter. After the Pittsburgh series, the Reds play host to the Cubs for 3 games before hitting the road for a 3 game weekend series in Philadelphia.


The Reds will be without their face of their franchise and future Hall of Famer Joey Votto as he is expected to start the season on the Injured List (IL).

Votto said in an interview Monday with the Cincinnati Enquirer that “What led me to that decision was just not being ready. Starting a good bit behind during spring training. Still working through some of the rehab process. Not accumulating enough time in the field.”

“Not accumulating enough at-bats. [Sunday] was the first day where I felt semi-close to being able to play close to 100%. It takes a stretch of time feeling that way before you feel like you are regular-season ready.

Votto, a six-time All-Star and 2010 NL MVP, is in the final season of his 10-year, $225 million extension he signed back in 2012. His absence from the Opening Day roster will mark the first time the veteran misses an Opening Day starting lineup in 14 years.


The Reds Opening Day starter Hunter Greene has a lot of excitement around his name, and for good reason. Grenne, in his rookie year last season, threw for a 5-13 record, pitching to a 4.44 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. Certainly not the greatest. This spring, he’s improved on that by posting a 1-1 record over 5 starts (17.1 IP) with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. But then again, it’s Spring Training.

One look at Hunter Greene’s Baseball Savant page will show exactly why you should be excited to see him on this mound, but also the concerns. Greene’s Whiff % ranks in the 88th percentile in all of MLB, while his K % ranks in the 91st. That’s impressive. It’s easy to know why when you see that his Fastball Spin rate is in the 81st percentile and his Fastball Velocity is in the 99th. The concern comes from his Barrel % and Chase Rate, which rank in the 16th and 37th percentiles respectively. That means while he gets a lot of swing and misses on strikes, he’s not getting hitters to chase out of the zone and when hitters make contact, they’re barreling the ball up and hitting it hard. Combine that with the fact that Greene has just a three pitch mix of a 4-Seam fastball, Slider, and Changeup. The lack of a consistent changeup last season left Greene with essentially a 2-pitch arsenal, as he threw his changeup just 5.3% of the time.

This spring, Hunter has been working to develop that changeup into a true third pitch. If he can use it more consistently and effectively, expect the Barrel % to go down and that already impressive Whiff % to continue to trend upward.

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