Blue Jays 2015 Top Prospect Wrap Up: Conner Greene

By Ryan Mueller
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No other pitcher benefited more from Alex’s Great Purge, dealing 14 minor league pitchers at the deadline,  than RHP Conner Greene. The 20-year-old native of Santa Monica wasn’t on the radar of many Blue Jays fans prior to 2015 or prior to The Great Purge, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t already a high ceiling prospect.

In 2013, the Blue Jays drafted the 6’3″ 165 lb California native in the 7th round out of Santa Monica HS and at 18-year-old Greene reported to the Blue Jays the Gulf Coast League rookie league after signing on June 13th.

MLB.com has Conner Greene ranked 9th in the Blue Jays system and now considered the system’s 3rd best arm behind Jonathan Harris (#2) and Sean Reid-Foley (#4). It terms of development, Greene is the most developed.

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In his age 20 season, Greene started the year with the Lo-A Lansing Lugnuts. He dominated the level, despite being 2.0 years younger than his competition. Conner got promoted to Advanced-A Dunedin after 14 starts with Lansing. He didn’t last long with the D-Jays getting called up to Double-A after 7 starts and finished the year making 5 starts with the Fisher Cats.

In total, he made 26 starts and pitched 132.1 innings across three levels. The young right-hand pitcher finished with a record of 12-7 and 3.54 ERA.  Greene’s 132.1IP set a career high, which almost tripled the 59.1 IP he threw last season between the GCL and Bluefield .

With the Lansing Lugnuts, he finished with 7 wins and 3 losses over 67.1IP. He put together a very solid 8.69 K/9 and only walked 2.54/9 while limiting opponents to a .285 batting average and 1.40 WHIP.

Conner made his D-Jays debut on July 4th, taking the loss after allowing 4 runs on 9 hits over 6 innings. It took him 6 starts to notch his first win with Dunedin, which was more due to a lack of run support then poor performance. In his last three Advanced-A ball starts, Greene was 2-0, allowing one run over 19IP, walking 2 and striking out 17. Overall, he finished with 2 wins and 3 losses, 7.88 K/9, 1.80 BB/9, 2.34 FIP, and 1.10 WHIP.

In his last stop, Greene pitched 25 innings with New Hampshire despite seeing his K/9 drop to 5.4 and his BB/9 increase to 4.32. Conner was clearly challenged more at the Double-A level than the other two levels. He dominated in his Fisher Cats debut on August 13th shutting out the Akron RubberDucks over 6 innings, allowing 3-hits, 3 walks, but only striking out one. He lasted 4.2 innings while allowing 5 runs in his second start.

Greene ended the year on a high note, taking the win after allowing one run over 6 innings. He surrendered 5 hits and issued 3 walks, but struck out 2 to finish with a record of 3-1 and a 4.68 ERA with NH. He saw his FIP rise to 4.15, and his WHIP skyrocket to 1.48.

Projections

Greene has the tools (a quick arm) and a projectable frame (long and lean). The main knock on him during his draft year was below average secondary stuff and an average fastball (91-92). Since then, his FB has touched 97 mph, he has added 7 mph to his curve, and the command of his sinker has improved.

Conner will start 2016 back in NH, but with a good spring could push the Jays to start him in Buffalo. The real question is…..Can Conner Greene push his way onto the Blue Jays squad the same way Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna did during this past spring?

Conner Greene was one of many Toronto prospects to be added to the Florida Instructional League, where he’ll continue to iron out his mechanics in his question in hopes of becoming a major league pitcher in 2016.

Next: 5 Blue Jays that never got their taste of playoff ball in Toronto

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