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Breaking down Cincinnati Reds starter Hunter Greene

Taking a look at the starter the Cardinals are scheduled to face on Sunday.

Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Cincinnati Reds young right hander Hunter Greene is one of the league’s upcoming aces. Through 12 games the right hander has an ERA of 3.92 to go along with 88 strikeouts. The St. Louis Cardinals are set to face the flamethrower on Sunday, with it being his first start in 10 days due to back stiffness. Prior to that injury though, Greene might’ve figured something out as he allowed just 1 run across 2 starts while striking out 19 batters. Down below we are going to break down the arsenal he has that led to that success and what Cards hitters should expect.

Pitch #1 - Four seam - 2023 usage rate - 54.8 percent

2023 stats - .228 xBA, .444 xSLG, .338 xwOBA

Average velo - 98.6 MPH - Spin rate - 2,344 RPM - vertical movement - 12.8 inches - horizontal movement - 12.2 inches (3.6 inches above average)

This pitch is one of the better four seamers in the league because of the velocity he is able to consistently throw it at. Not many starters are able to sit around 98 for spurts of their starts let alone for the duration of it. Despite having an average exit velocity against it of 92.5 MPH and hard-hit rate of 52.7 percent, hitters struggle against it as shown by the low expected batting average against it. Impressively, the chase rate against it is 32.2 percent, the highest amongst his pitches. But hitters don’t struggle to make contact against it when they chase with a chase whiff rate of just 31.3 percent.

Pitch #2 - Slider - 2023 usage rate - 39.7 percent

2023 stats - .161 xBA, .233 xSLG, .207 xwOBA

Average velo - 88.3 MPH - Spin rate - 2,338 RPM - vertical movement - 31.2 inches - horizontal movement - 3.2 inches

The numbers on this pitch are fantastic and Greene doesn’t get enough credit for just how good it actually is. The whiff rate against it is 41.2 percent and the chase whiff rate is 71.4 percent. When he throws it in the zone, he is able to generate some whiffs still with a swing and miss rate of 25.4 percent. When facing left-handed batters, this usage rate on it actually drops a bit to 33.8 percent. The most surprising thing about this pitch though is the fact it has an 11.1 percent pop up percentage. Traditionally, you see that number with a four seamer because of how long it holds its plane for, not with a slider.

Pitch #3 - Changeup - 2023 usage rate - 5.5 percent

2023 stats - .285 xBA, .495 xSLG, .328 xwOBA

Average velo - 91.7 MPH - Spin rate - 1,989 RPM - vertical movement - 23.6 inches - horizontal movement - 13.0 inches

Typically with these articles I don’t like talking about pitches that are under a seven percent usage rate, but since it’s his third offering we can review it quickly. Right-handed batters can all but eliminate this pitch from their thought process as Greene only throws it to same sided hitters' 2.4 percent of the time. Against lefties it has a whiff rate of 31.3 percent and an out of zone percentage of 82 percent, the highest of his pitches. When he does throw it out of the zone though, it doesn’t produce many chases as batters leave the zone against it at just a 22 percent rate.

Key matchup - Nolan Gorman - It’s up for debate, but Nolan Gorman might just be the best Cardinals hitter this season. Despite that success he has struggled against two pitches this year: four seamers and sliders. As of June 8th, he has a whiff rate of 35.9 percent and 41.8 percent against the two pitches, respectively, and his xwOBA is .342 and .320 when facing them. As a result, it is difficult to see Gorman doing well against Greene, so I am going to predict he goes 0-3 against him with 2 strikeouts.

Prediction - Greene throws 6 innings, allows 2 earned runs and strikes out 11.