Hunter Green, LHP, Starter
A lover of all things outdoors, hunting, fishing, and baseball. Hunter Green, the Angels most recent first pick in the draft. We say first pick because the Angels did not have a first round pick, however, consensus says that Green was meant to go in the late first round. Sounds like a steal to us. The young man has a strong head on his shoulders, helped by a loving family. Hunter is a personal favorite of ours for not only his outstanding pitching, but his even more outstanding character.
Character doesn't always equate to talent, but luckily for Hunter Green, he has both. Green is still a young pitcher who weighs about 180 soaking wet, but he's only 18-years-old. When it comes to problems, who better to ask than... yourself? In an interview conducted with Hunter early in the off-season, he told us about what coaches are working on to improve his game.
"The biggest thing they've been working on with me is delivery. I've had some problems with leaking my front side and dragging, so they're just giving me a lot of drills and trying a new delivery with me just to help me stay back over the rubber so i can keep my velocity up. Sometimes I mess up in my delivery and my arm slot gets lower and I start losing feel for all my pitches."
Like we said, he has a strong head on his shoulders. Green's slight mechanics and delivery problems have effected his command of throwing strikes.
"I'd like to be a lot more consistent in the strike zone and bring my walks down, because I had a really hard time with that this year in my first season."
As for his pitches, he has three good ones. His fastball has an outstanding sinking movement to it, and sits anywhere from the high 80's to low 90's, with shades of 93. As Green mentioned, he could pick up some velocity, and it will also help that he's spending this off-season in the gym putting on weight. He said he added 15 pounds while in Rookie Ball, and is looking to add another ten this off-season, which would put him at six-foot-four and 200 pounds. With that, his velocity could pickup a few notches, and really make him a dominating left-handed pitcher.
Green's off-speed pitches have gotten "ten times better" since the draft according to Green. He changed the grip of his changeup and he now has almost perfect command of the pitch and can throw it in any count. It helped that he developed it by using it for his long toss and flat ground. His curve has developed well too, as he now uses it as his 0-2 count pitch, but also says he will use it in almost any count.
Green was sent to Tempe right out of the draft to spend time with the Rookie Ball AZL Angels. While he was there, he performed better than most 17-year-olds would. In eight games (seven starts). In his first start, he only went one inning, which is standard for the Arizona League, but he struck out a pair, walking none and allowing no hits, being a dominant pitcher for the afternoon. The rest of the season went pretty standard for the young man, as he finished the season with a 4.32 earned run average, and with his walk totals being very high (8.6 per nine), posted a 1.92 WHIP over 16.2 innings pitched.
EXPECTED OF THE FUTURE:
Green showed us a small sample of what he has in the tank. With improvement and a strong showing at Spring Training, Green would like to head near his home town of Bowling Green, and land in Low-A Burlington for the 2014 season. It is likely that he could do it, but the Angels know he's young and time is on their side. Green will either spend time in Rookie Ball Orem, or Low-A Burlington out of Spring Training.
He's going to spend half of 2014 being 18-years-old, turning 19 in mid July. With that said, the Angels have no need to be aggressive with the young lefty. His estimated time of arrival to the Majors in our eyes is 2018. Although, he is something special and could become a star pitcher near the top of many rotations, including the Angels.
We rarely do this, but since we're such big fans of Hunter, we would like to wish him the best of luck (as well as all the prospects), in their future with the Angels.
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