How Good is Greinke?

Update: According to reports, Greinke has been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. This move couldn’t be better for his fantasy value. Not only does he stay in a small market (no worries about his social anxiety), but he will have a better offense to give him run support and he moves to the National League. Pitchers that move from the AL to NL generally see across-the-board improvement in their numbers, especially in their strikeout rates. Though Greinke’s K/9 dropped last season, he has averaged about 8.4 K/9 over the last three years. I’ll put an 8.4 K/9 as a minimum for 2011, with the chance for nine-plus K/9.


In 2009, Zack Greinke took the fantasy baseball world by storm, posting a 2.16 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 181 strikeouts. 2010, however, was another story. Greinke’s strikeout rate regressed by almost two strikeouts per nine innings and his ERA ballooned to 4.17. He still posted a very solid walk rate (2.25 BB/9), but a below average strand rate (65.3 percent) helped inflate his ERA. A 3.34 FIP at season’s end showed that Greinke pitched much better than his results suggest.


It has been reported that Greinke has requested a trade out of Kansas City. Tired of losing? Hurt by the trade rumors? No matter what the problem is, another franchise would have to give up the farm to get him (and possibly a major leaguer or two). Why such a high price? Because Greinke has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past three seasons.

All stats are from 2008-2010

  • Greinke’s FIP ranks fourth best in baseball, below Tim Lincecum, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. He rankes higher than Adam Wainwright and CC Sabathia.
  • His xFIP (3.55) is the same as CC Sabathia’s
  • He has thrown the ninth most innings, showcasing his durability.
  • His 4.84 K/BB ratio ranks sixth best in baseball, fifth best if you don’t count Mike Mussina.
  • His 8.37 K/9 was twelfth best in baseball during that span
  • His 2.24 BB/9 was fourteenth best
  • He hasn’t allowed over one HR/9 since 2006 and his three-year average ranks him tenth best in that category.

Three most comparable pitchers based on K/BB ratio
  • Zack Greinke 8.37 K/9, 2.24 BB/9
  • Cole Hamels 8.22 K/9, 2.24 BB/9
  • Josh Beckett 8.52 K/9, 2.34 BB/9

Grenkie has the lowest HR/9 of the three, by far.

Clearly, Zack Greinke has pitched as good or better than some of baseball’s premier starters. Aside from 2009, the ERA, win and loss totals haven’t been representative of just how good Greinke has been.

His 2011 draft day value is likely to be much lower than it was just a year ago. It would be wise to take advantage of this, especially if he is traded to a contender. Greinke could easily be a top five fantasy pitcher next season.