Reds’ top two pitching prospects off to strong starts in Chattanooga

Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene win player of the week awards

There hasn’t been much good news at the big-league level for the Cincinnati Reds in recent days, but their top two minor-league prospects have earned headlines with strong starts in the 2021 season.

Nick Lodolo was named the Double-A South Player of the Week on Monday. Hunter Greene won the same award a week earlier.

Lodolo and Greene ranked one-two on a MLB.com list of the Reds’ top-30 prospects. Neither pitched in official games last year because the minor-league season was cancelled by the pandemic. Both have put up great numbers in the first month of the season for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts.

“Hunter and I kind of grew up in the same area and played together when we were younger, so we’ve already had a relationship,” Lodolo told the Chattanooga Times Free Press earlier this season. “It’s cool to learn off each other and kind of move at the same time. We’re going through it together, so we just pick each other’s brains — it’s just kind of cool to see where we’re at now.”

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Here’s a breakdown of the performances by Lodolo and Greene and the other players ranked among the top-10 prospects.

1. Lodolo, left-handed pitcher: The No. 7 pick in the 2019 draft struck out a season-high 11 batters and allowed one hit in seven shutout innings in his one start last week against the Mississippi Braves. He has a 0.57 ERA in three starts with 24 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings.

2. Greene, right-handed pitcher: The No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft is 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in four starts. He has 33 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings. Greene underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019 and had not pitched since July 26, 2018, when he made his first appearance for the Lookouts on May 5. In the first inning of his first start, he threw 14 pitches that topped 100 miles per hour.

According to the Lookouts, Greene set a pro baseball record with 37 fastballs that reached triple digits. That’s the most in a game since Statcast started keeping track of velocity in 2015.

3. Austin Hendrick, outfielder: The Reds’ top pick in 2020, the 12th selection in the first round, is starting his professional career with the Low-A Daytona Tortugas. He’s hitting .244 (10-for-41) in 14 games. He has started 12 games in right field and two in center.

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4. Jose Garcia, shortstop: He made his big-league debut last year with the Reds, hitting .194 in 24 games. This season, he’s hitting .323 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in 16 games with Chattanooga. The Reds signed Garcia, who’s from Cuba, when he was 19 in 2017.

5. Michael Siani, outfielder: A fourth-round pick in 2018, Siani is playing his second season in Dayton. He’s hitting .200 (11-for-55) in 16 games.

6. Rece Hinds, third baseman: A second-round pick in 2019, Hinds is hitting .193 (11-for-57) with three home runs in 14 games for the Tortugas.

7. Lyon Richardson, right-handed pitcher: A second-round pick in 2018, he’s also playing his second straight season in Dayton. He’s 1-1 with a 1.10 ERA in four starts. He has 18 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings.

8. Tyler Callihan, second base/third base: A third-round pick in 2019, he leads the Tortugas in hits (20-for-62) and is hitting .323 in 16 games.

9. Tony Santillan, right-handed pitcher: A second-round pick in 2015, he’s 1-1 and leads the Triple-A Louisville Bats with a 1.86 ERA in four starts. He has 23 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings. He could earn a big-league promotion soon when the Reds seek to fill the spot of injured starter Wade Miley.

10. Christian Roa, right-handed pitcher: Roa pitched allowed one run in one inning in his 2021 debut with Daytona on May 4 and then went on the injured list May 6 with a right elbow strain. The Reds drafted him in the second round in 2020.

WEDNESDAY’S GAME

Reds at Nationals, 7:05 p.m., Bally Sports Ohio, 700, 1410

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