Key Stats: In 2009 Greinke established himself as an “ace”, 16-8 record, 2.16 ERA, 242 K’s and an AL Cy Young Award. He “fell apart” in 2010, losing record, ERA over 4.00, lower K rate, higher BB rate. It wasn’t a pretty picture. The Brewers traded for him, and he found his old form again in Milwaukee. Back to 16 wins, back over 200 K’s, back to being an “ace”. The best part about Greinke regaining his form is that all of his peripheral ERA stats are significantly lower than his actual ERA implying he pitched even better than the surface shows. If you toss the disastrous 2010 season out, his K% has gone up every year since 2005.
Skeptics Say: We can’t really forget that 2010 happened though can we? He reportedly wasn’t motivated to play for a team that was rebuilding, hence the reason he was traded to Milwaukee in the first place. So he got his wish, that made him a happy camper, and he pitched well? Miller Park is much more favorable to the longball environment than Kaufman stadium was, and it shows to an extent in Greinke’s numbers, despite a career low in fly ball rate, he also posted the 2nd highest HR/FB rate of his career.
Peer Comparison: It was interesting to see that Zack Greinke has followed a similar career arc that Justin Verlander has. Both started off good a couple years, had a poor season and followed it up with rises back to the top. They both have the same pitching arsenal, albeit Verlander’s is 3-4 mph faster. What is even more interesting is that in the years that both Verlander and Greinke pitched after their bad years, their peripheral ERA’s indicated that despite the improvement they were still unlucky. We know what Verlander has gone on to do since… maybe this year it will Zack’s turn?
Team Outlook: Greinke figures to be at the top of the rotation followed by Yovani Gallardo and Shawn Marcum then the capable Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson (who was a great streaming candidate at times last year). Pair that rotation with their bullpen (Jose Veras and his 10.01 K/9 is a nice pickup) and Kameron Loe (38 Holds last two seasons) and one of the best closers in baseball, John Axford, and this is a team that will be able to complete game in and game out despite losing Prince Fielder.
What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline – #10 Starting Pitcher; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com - #12 Starting Pitcher & #39 Overall; RotoChamp – #54 Overall; Mock Draft Central – #12 Starting Pitcher & #48 Overall
Projection: This could probably come back to bite me, and if any of the guys I play in leagues with read this I’m screwed, but I really like Greinke this year. I probably like him too much. His division has gotten easier this year compared to last. To me, his floor is last season, and ceiling is Cy Young Award. Personally, I’m leaning closer to Cy Young Award.
18 W, 2.98 ERA, 215 K, 1.12 WHIP in 220 IP.