Thursday, June 8, 2023

Two Decades of Overthinking


People Zack Greinke pitched against during his rookie season in 2004: Tony Batista, Mike Piazza, Todd Zeile, Bobby Higginson, Rafael Palmeiro, Carl Everett, Eric Young Sr., Gary Sheffield, Bernie Williams, John Olerud.

People that Zack Greinke has pitched against so far this year: Riley Greene, Luis Arraez, Ronald Acuna Jr., Vaughn Grissom, Brice Turang, Joey Wiemer, Nolan Gorman, Alec Burleson, Adley Rutschman. 

That's...insane. You can connect Adley Rutschman to John Olerud through Zack Greinke. It says so much about not only the evolution of baseball, but the solid consistency of Zack Greinke, who continues to be one of the game's greatest mentalists, and one of the single most eccentric players from this era's Hall of Fame class. And there are some eccentric players in there already, people like Dizzy Dean, Wade Boggs, Rickey Henderson and Yogi Berra. But Greinke blurs the line of neurodivergence and simple admiration of routine. One of the greatest triumphs in the league's history is that Greinke was able to overcome his anxiety attacks in order to properly acclimate to the league in the mid-2000s, and once he figured it out he was good for another 16 years. 

Greinke led the league in ERA twice, not by striking everybody out, but just by outthinking his competitors. Ironically, the only time he ever got more than 225 strikeouts was in 2009, the year of his only Cy Young award [though admittedly maybe he deserved one in 2015. Greinke's consistency has carried to his health, having only missed a few games in two or three seasons, and not sitting out large swaths like his contemporaries Verlander and Kershaw. Greinke made all his scheduled starts in 9 seasons, and has made all of his scheduled starts thus far in KC this year. 

True, the Greinke the Royals are working with this year isn't primetime Greinke, as he's 1-6 with a 4.59 ERA, but he has 50 Ks so far this year, putting him 68 away from the almighty 3000 mark. I'm not sure if this is Greinke's last season, though his being 39 does make that something of a possibility, but if he finished off with getting his 3000th strikeout and lasting the whole year in a turbulent Royals squad, I think that'd be an awesome way to go out.

The Royals, Greinke and Salvy aside, don't have a ton else going on this year. Bobby Witt does have 10 homers and 19 steals, but he's still missing some pieces. Jordan Lyles is 0-10, that is, at the very least, funny. Pratto, Maikel Garcia and Nicky Lopez are trying but there's just not a lot going on with this team that isn't resting on mythology. And for now, hopefully they can build on the young guys a little and hope that something works going forward.

For now, it's the Zack Greinke show, and I guess that's alright.

Coming Tomorrow- One of the hardest throwing players in the bigs, and yet somehow he's not the biggest newsmaker on his team this week.

1 comment:

  1. Hope he gets to 3000 strikeouts at least. He's been one of the more interesting players to follow especially in the last decade.