Ol’ Man Greinke: He just keeps rollin’ along

It is funny how we form impressions of people based on the latest news or views. Mention Zack Greinke and you will probably envision a quirky Eddie Lopat-ish fluff ball tosser, who somehow gets by. (And you may have to ask your great grandparents about Eddie Lopat, cause your parents and grandparents may not know).

But Zack used to be a much harder thrower, who has morphed into a consummate pitcher as his speed fell off, but his accuracy and guile improved. And if I say that Zack is one of the two best active pitchers in career stats (the other being Justin Verlander) that might surprise you.

Greinke just finished his 17th season in the majors, while Verlander just completed his 16th season, even though Greinke is 8 months younger. So, they are two of the most experienced pitchers in baseball and mirror each other in multiple ways. In fact, in many categories, they are squeezed together closely, so close that a good showing by Greinke in 2021 may allow him to ease ahead of the likely non-pitching Verlander in some of them. Here’s a look at just some of their career marks.

  • Greinke is 2nd among active pitchers in career WAR with 67.1. First is Verlander with 72.3, which Zack may approach but will probably still trail after 2021. He may also get passed by third-place Clayton Kershaw who is on his heels at 67.0. If you look at overall WAR including Greinke’s quite accomplished hitting, he is third among all players with 72.2 behind Mike Trout (74.6) and Albert Pujols (100.7) .
  • Greinke’s career ERA is 3.37, just behind Verlander at 3.33.
  • Greinke is 2nd among active pitchers with 208 wins and should close the gap on #1 – Verlander at 226.
  • Greinke is also 2nd among actives with 2939 innings and will likely pass JV and his 2988 innings.
  • Greinke is third among actives with 2689 K’s and is not likely to catch Max Scherzer (2784) or Verlander (3013).
  • Greinke is 1st in games started among actives with 459 starts and won’t be caught by the injured JV (454) or the not injured Jon Lester (423).

Zack has some strong numbers throughout his career. He has won one Cy Young with the Royals (2009), came in second with the Dodgers (2015) and has been in the top 10 in voting 5 times in his career. He is a 6 time All Star, a 6 time Gold Glove winner and a two time Silver Slugger as a hitter despite only spending 7 seasons in the NL.

Greinke has improved with age. His run between 2013 and 2019 (from age 29 to 35) sported a 114-45 record and a 2.90 ERA. He is extremely accomplished in everything he does on the field, including controlling at least 6 different pitches (Four-seamer, two-seamer, curveball, changeup, cutter and slider) with that changeup that often travels in the 50’s mph getting a lot of attention. His hitting has also gotten him noticed, which also improved with age. When he was traded from the D’Backs to the Astros he was hitting .271 BA/ .883 OPS with 3 HRs and 8 RBIs. Anyone who watched him fielding over the last couple of seasons will marvel on what he does to help himself.

Yes, Greinke is quirky. He is an oddball, yet interesting interview. He is a great pitcher and the Astros and their young pitching studs are lucky to have him on their staff as an example of how to pitch rather than throw.

42 comments on “Ol’ Man Greinke: He just keeps rollin’ along

  1. I would hate to think that we did not have Zack Greinke on our 2021 staff – especially with Verlander out until who knows how long. Zack is a proven rock of dependabilty in a sea of injury-prone and/or unproven wildcards.

    He is a little different – and even quirky – alright; but hey, I’m a relic of the ‘love generation’, and we consider quirky to be a virtue pretty much right on par with groovy.

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  2. I really pull for this guy. He reminds me a lot of my youngest son who has high functioning autism. Very smart, quirky, socially awkward / social anxiety, very focused, high performance in area of interest, very direct, etc. (Note – I am not a doctor and do not play one of TV – just a dad who notices things).

    I am convinced if AJ Hinch had not pulled him in game 7 of the 2019 WS we would have another championship.

    He had a good outing yesterday and hopefully will just ramp up from there. I feel like the weirdness, stop start of 2020 really affected this person who is very much into routine. He is fun to watch and I hope he gives us his normal greatness this season.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just for clarification. Do you or Chip have to approve a reply before it posts? I just posted and it failed to appear. And I thought I messed up and posted again. Neither of them are here nor on my IPhone. So, do we need to wait awhile for our posts to appear? (Again, just a clarification question.)

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    • I think the only time posts have to be approved may be by the first post a person ever makes, but never by me.
      I will say that occasionally I try to post a comment and it won’t go – multiple times and I don’t know why. I sometimes wonder if there is some word or phrase in there that triggers a block.
      Usually I have to post it a 3rd time or post it from another source to get it to post

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  4. Guess they will clear up Emanuel’s suspension details on the radio today? It was 80-games but I don’t think he’s eclipsed it. Meaning, he wouldn’t have a shot at rotation or a roster spot out of the gate (unless the team was looking at a Cishek “bullpen spot that costs less” replacement).

    Dan,
    Some very good facts about Greinke and where he sits atop all-time stats. Really goes to show ‘who finishes the race’, more so than who burned the brightest. Zach doesn’t seem to get side-tracked much. He’s as laser-focused as Nolan Ryan who stayed the cause for a long time, too. He throws whiffle balls and has revolutionized the word adjustments. A veritable Greg Maddux in how he’s grinded & re-invented himself. Astros have a good opportunity to show 3, or 4 multiple looks including high velocity after opponents see Greinke, so they cannot bank quite on any type they’ll see that night, sets up well for Zach’s continued success to throw less strenuously. Also, he doesn’t need 95 which he could probably reach for, as long as he gets timing separation between pitches. If you can separate 15-20 mph or more, pitcher has a yo-yo.

    You’ll enjoy this.

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  5. Some speculative stuff about the Astros….
    https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2021/03/al-west-notes-rangers-lyles-astros-diaz-odorizzi-javier.html

    – I know the Astros don’t have a lot of room under the luxury tax (About $11-12MM), but they are not right up against it. Do they need that approx $2.4 MM in savings trading Diaz would give them right now or would it be better to wait a bit and see how the season rolls out? I guess if they think that they don’t lose much with Garcia and Toro or they don’t like Diaz’s injury history.
    – I thought I read where Odorizzi had been throwing 40 pitch bullpens before the signing. Would think he could get at least two or three starts before the season to get up to 60 or 70 pitches
    – Similarly, Javier did have a two inning outing before the COVID stoppage and it makes no sense to say he might not be ready but Garcia and Abreu who missed time for the same reason would be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting, wonder if Chandler has some insight there about team’s willingness on the “chemistry” side of clubhouse. I thought Aledmys was extremely well-liked, and frankly not only SS but he can play every, single position (played LF yesterday)…$3m is dirt cheap. We’re only having this conversation because Robel Garcia has been pretty darn impressive. Toro absolutely has to play more to ever get his trade value, and unless Astros rest Yuli more, Toro is shutdown blocked.

      I would think Astros trade Joe Smith no question about it! If we have to add a sweetener so a team takes on about $2m of his salary, so be it. No-brainer. Say Nathan Perry & Joe Smith for our pick of that team’s Hi-A player (West Coast)?

      Also, I’d get rid of Cishek.
      We did guarantee $1.1m to Ryne Stanek, and I bet Astros use him as Opener sometime.

      Emerging on pitcher side is Bielak Nivaldo *Hansen, in addition to Ivey Solomon. I’d say cut the fat in bullpen for sure, and for now keep Diaz. Pena could take SS by July, so we could always off load Diaz if Correa shows very healthy at deadline.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I would listen to offers on Raley if the Astros thought Emanuel could fill that role.

      Many are very concerned about payroll and tax numbers lately, and frankly I think for fans it’s such a waste of time. The Astros will make these decisions based on realtime scenarios, where we have no idea how that shakes out in the least. Trying to define whether they have 8 million left, or 3 million left when incentive details, injuries, “desire to spend” will fluctuate. All we need to know today is round numbers for general outlook.

      The worst of the penalties of going over the tax is selecting players in the 300 range of the draft on QO’s, versus not being able to. 30% tax on just the overage, let’s say worst case is 5m over = $1.5m. The Astros probably just don’t care that much on the tax, if they look like they’re a juggernaut on the division scale. And yet if we’re a middle wrung team at mid way, it might be best to re-tool for a bigger push in ’22. We just don’t know yet.

      My most concerning issue is the health of those players WE DO retain value in. All those candidates who might be FA, we would like to have them available and not injured at deadline — that it vital, because it may be the only way to “spend” at that point.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Assuming Diaz is healthy, as a utility guy he’s easily our best bat and most versatile on the field. The .823 OPS in 2019 can’t be overlooked on a team that has zero other proven offense off the bench.

      3 million? Look at the money Marwin has made for one good offensive season, easily the most tainted season by an Astro in 2017.

      And why start unloading arms with reasonable salaries at a time when we’ve got a potential shortage of pitching on Opening Day, or moving our starting catcher when our back up backstop might be on the shelf when the season starts?

      Chandler Rome is full of Dookie. Astrocolt45, might even agree with me on this one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Might” is a really big word.

        O.K. Just this one time, I will agree and any time you state “Chandler is full of dookey” you get another “full and complete” agreement.

        And I looked up “Chandler Rome” in the New American Urban Dictionary and misread what it said. I thought it said “Chick Bait.” It actually read “Click Bait.”

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  6. I will attempt my post again in sections. First, DanP, you are being reported to the Cancel Culture Thought Police for “Ageism.” As a watcher of Ed Lopat on TV with the Yankees, I am not as old as you referenced in the opening paragraph. Shame. Shame.

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  7. A final Frank Tanana story. We lived in Arlington when he pitched there. He was complaining to his neighbor about armadillos digging up his yard. The neighbor (a friend of mine) told him “Well do you know anyone with a good, hard, accurate fastball?”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Garcia and Abreu returned yesterday, and pitched scoreless innings!
    De Goti / Jones homered, Leon tripled as Astros won 6-5.

    Must-See TV

    Yordan Alvarez makes his Spring Training debut today at 12:05 p.m. against Washington (on AT&T SportsNet):

    2B Altuve
    LF Brantley
    SS Correa
    RF Tucker
    DH Alvarez
    1B Gurriel
    3B Toro
    CF Straw
    C Maldonado

    RHP McCullers

    And wow, I called this one. Straw in #8 spot so he’s not clogged up by Maldy if Martín were to get on-base. Starting to look more like what we’ll see on OD.

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  9. I’m not a lineup writer, but after much consideration and triple guessing, this is my Opening Day preference:

    Altuve
    Brantley
    Bregman
    Alvarez
    Correa
    Tucker
    Gurriel
    Straw
    Slow guy

    Jose has the highest lifetime leadoff OBP on our baseball club. Nobody ever seems to talk about him leading off though. And he’s done it successfully far more than any other guy on the club today. Maybe he hates the role. And this is a bit hard to believe, but Carlos has never led off in a regular season game. I’m looking to seeing what manager Baker posts the first time we see Bregman and Alvarez in the lineup together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was able to read a lot between the lines on this article — thanks for posting.

      Didn’t realize Ryan Leake, Mike’s brother is our west coast scout, and his ties to Korey and Baker’s son.

      One thing I’ll be watching with interest this season is whether Nate Perry, a yr younger than Lee, can make up the ground he stands behind Stubbs Lee Papierski & Quintana. We have 3 other catchers in the system who can hit; N Rodriguez, G Castillo and O Campos. Made it easier to part company with Chuckie Robinson in R5. A far cry from the Robbie Wine, Max Sapp days!

      Hey, how about this! We have baseball on TV
      I will bet LMJ tries to go 4-5 innings.

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    • Sorry Sandy – I was busy cheering my Coogs on to their conference championship and a #2 seed in the tournament. Yes, they were on AT&T Sportsnet. Sorry we did not publicize that.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I see if you have high speed internet, you can get AT&T Sports by buying AT&T TV Live at apparently $85 a month. Also FUBO at about the same price. Does anyone know any other options to live stream? Yes, we live in Texas with Suddenlink.

    Liked by 2 people

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