Thursday, May 30, 2019
Ten Years Later, Zack Greinke is Still Good
Just for fun, let's look at everyone who's won a Cy Young in the last ten years.
Of the fifteen people who've won a Cy Young award since 2009, three are no longer playing (Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay and R.A. Dickey), four that are currently inactive (those three and Dallas Keuchel), two haven't come close to the top 3 vote-getters since (Jake Arrieta and Rick Porcello), two have come close to repeating but haven't, and probably won't (Felix Hernandez and David Price), three have repeated (Kershaw, Scherzer and Corey Kluber) and one probably will this year (Justin Verlander, unless I just jinxed him).
...and then there's Zack Greinke. Who has come the closest out of anybody to getting a second Cy Young, yet still gets underestimated a lot more than many of the people I listed above.
Let's get something straight. In 2015, the award was Greinke's to lose. He had an UNSPEAKABLY LOW ERA, held onto some scary leads he held at the All-Star-Break, and actually got a ton of MVP votes as well. I honestly think he would have been a better choice than Jake Arrieta that year, but Arrieta was the flashier choice.
And that's what works against Greinke a lot of the time. He's not flashy. He's not too loud, he's not too angry anymore. He just shows up every five days, throws 10 strikeouts and maybe allows a hit or two, then leaves with the win. And for some reason, in between those days, people forget that he's still got it, or that he had a lot of it to begin with. Zack Greinke is 35 years old, which is about the same age that most people are either thrice divorce, living in a van down by the river, or both, his hair is greying around the back, his eyes have sunken, and if he were an average pitcher, he'd be showing his age.
And judging from the first two months of play, where he's rocking a 6-2 record with 73 strikeouts and a 2.78 ERA, he's not average. He's never been average, even when losing 17 games in Kansas City. And he's still one of the most ferocious pitchers in the NL, even if his Diamondbacks are, admittedly, kind of average this year.
I worry that in about 10 years, when his Hall of Fame case is brought up, that statisticians and Tim Kurkjian types are gonna bring up ridiculous things like 'DID YOOOOOU KNOW THAT ZACK GREINKE LED THE LEAGUE IN LOSSES ONCE, BUT NEVER LED THE LEAGUE IN WINS?', just to keep him out for a few years. Which is bullshit, because Zack Greinke's one of the best pitchers in the game, one of the toughest strikeout artists to face, and someone, a lot like Bert Blyleven, who's done a lot in baseball without being a showy name like Clayton Kershaw or Max Scherzer.
So that's my Greinke spiel. Hope it's not as nonsensical as it was before I went back and edited it.
Coming Tonight: He is the DJ, and he is what he plays. Which means he is some awesome defensive 2nd base, man.