Hunter Greene dazzles in Dayton Dragons debut: Instant reaction

The only way one could come away from Hunter Greene's Dayton Dragons debut unimpressed was if perfection was the expectation.

In fact, the trouble Greene ran into made his whole outing even more memorable.

The 18-year-old pitching phenom gave up two runs on five hits against the Lake County Captains on Monday night at Fifth Third Field, but he struck out eight and showed plenty of reasons — mentally and physically — he was the No. 2 pick in the MLB draft last June.

The California kid was not fazed by the cold Midwest weather (39 degrees at the start of the game) or the weight of more than one moment the game could have gotten away from him.

He had a blistering fastball he was willing to throw inside and out, typically in the high 90s with a handful hitting triple digits.

He also showed great confidence in his other pitches, buckling knees with a couple of curves and going to another off-speed pitch even in hitters’ counts.

ARCHDEACON: Greene has all the tools -- and plenty of heart, too

Greene struck out eight, including the last three batters he faced in the third inning after he allowed the first two batters to reach on singles and moved them over on a wild pitch.

He came back from down 3-0 in the count to Lake County left fielder Austen Wade, who fouled back a fastball, couldn’t pull the trigger on a big curve then swung through a pitch low in the zone for strike three.

Greene also stranded a man in scoring position in the first inning after a pair of singles up the middle and an opposite-field double resulted in two runs.

Around the dramatic first and third, Greene pitched a perfect second with two strikeouts and a groundout.

His makeup was probably more impressive than his talent, especially considering his age.

Of course, in concluding that, we also run the risk of taking Greene’s considerable natural ability for granted.

He’s definitely got a lot of that, but this is an organization where the last two years at the major-league level have been marked by hot shot prospects too often unable or unwilling to attack the strike zone.

That was no problem for Greene on Monday night.

Greene’s final line: three innings pitched, five hits, two runs (both earned), eight strikeouts, no walks, one wild pitch.

He threw 53 pitches, of which 35 were strikes.

There will be worse days than this, but there will be better ones, too.

Bet on more of the latter.

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