Prospect #26: RHP, Conner Greene
Acquired from Toronto for Randal Grichuk
The Stats As Of 8/6/2018
THE QUICK WRITE UP
Conner Greene's control is bad. It's so bad that it isn't even "bad"; it's detrimental. That's a bummer because everything else about Greene is good.
He has a lively fastball that lives in the mid-upper 90's, although he went through a stretch earlier in the year in which he was throwing in the low 90's consistently. He has a very good and totally underrated curve ball. Sometimes he slows down his arm to throw it, but he's gotten better with that as the season has gone on. His change up is a work in progress, but it's a nice between-pitch for the curve and the fastball. He can strike hitters out with junk or the fastball. When he keeps the fastball low in the zone and for a strike, it gets on the hitter QUICK:
The problem is that he doesn't command any of it consistently enough. He also slows down his arm to throw his nasty curve, thus negating a good portion of the success that the breaking pitch is capable of having. He has walked more hitters than he's struck out since transitioning from the Springfield bullpen to the Memphis rotation. Before the transition, he was striking out nearly 20% of hitters while walking nearly 15% of hitters. The walk rate is dangerous and there's no way he'll ever be effective in the majors if he doesn't get the number down. But the talent is there. The skill is there. The size is there. Especially now that it appears that his future is in the bullpen, Greene could very well be a beast at the back-end.
WHY TO GET EXCITED
That fastball. It's a lively-dart that is unhittable when he is commanding it down in the zone, especially.
His curve ball has a ton of movement. He has average/below-average command of it, but he does know how to drop it in low in the zone.
Greene has the potential to be a back-end-pen-beast. With a high velocity and high spin rate fastball, the continued development of his curve and change up could turn him into a bullpen-stopper.
Greene is a "down-hill" thrower that, I'm sure, every broadcast team in America can't wait to talk about. That last part isn't a positive, but the fact that being so "downhill" creates a "bearing-down" release point is a positive.
Greene is the ideal build for a pitcher. At 6'3", 195 pounds, Greene has the frame and the build of a prototypical pitcher.
Greene is just one, five-game stretch of total command away from being a viable option in the Cardinals bullpen. He's one step away. One call away. He's on the cusp.
WHY TO BE CAUTIOUS
Greene's velocity dipped for a good portion of the season. He's since regained some of it, but the dip is a concern.
He slows down his arm to throw his curve. He has the chance to be a premier reliever if he can keep his arm speed up while commanding that pitch.
WALKS WALKS WALKS. They're bad. He's walked more batters than he's struck out since converting to the bullpen. Prior to the conversion, he was still walking too many hitters as a starter.
In general with these lists, I always shy away from including strictly relief pitchers. My assumption is that this is Greene's role exclusively moving forward, and that really kills some of his value.
His feel for his change up is rough, usually.
Two things go wrong in his delivery. First, his lead leg doesn't always repeat. Second, he often "over-finishes." What I mean by that is, sometimes it seems like he is trying to hard to make sure that he is finishing at the expense of his release point. It's weird and uncommon, but it seems evident with Greene.
There was a time when we could look towards starting pitching for a comparison to Conner Greene. Those days appear to be in the past. I feel like I've done this a lot during this countdown, but I really don't know what to compare his ultimate ceiling too. There isn't much of a sample and the small sample hasn't exactly been positive. So, instead, I'll refrain from issuing a comparison. His curve/fastball combo has the chance to make him a value bullpen piece if he can find the command for either pitch. I think that it's best that we leave it at that.
Thanks to Fangraphs for their contribution to this article.
Thanks For Reading!!