Zack Greinke pitched well this season. At first blush, his ERA does not suggest that to be the case. A 4.23 figure is more than two runs higher than his impossible to replicate 2.16 ERA from 2009. He won only nine games and lost 14. Although he has one start remaining, he will finish at least seven innings shy of his 2009 season tally. Our WAR metric values Greinke at five wins this season. In 2008, he posted a 4.9 WAR and last year he nearly captured the sum of the two seasons with a 9.4 WAR. Clearly, 2009 will be the pinnacle of Greinke’s pitching career.
If you go by WAR, Greinke is the fourth best pitcher over the last three seasons, ahead of CC Sabathia, Justin Verlander, Jon Lester, and everyone without the surnames Halladay, Lincecum, and Lee. Of course, that’s a tad unfair given the whole amazing 2009 season thing. This season, his WAR is higher than David Price’s. Higher than Sabathia’s. Higher than all American League pitchers save a select few.
He will not receive consideration in the AL Cy Young voting and… well, whatever. He already has one of those trophies anyways. The weirdest aspect about Grenke’s stats extends beyond his WAR, his FIP, his ERA, and into his BABIP. Over the last four seasons – five, if you count the six innings he pitched in 2006 – Greinke’s BABIP has remained painstakingly similar:
Greinke is primarily a groundball pitcher nowadays and, as such, his infield defense should be taken into consideration. That’s the interesting part, because you would think with a high level of turnover (of players with 50 or more innings on the defensive infield in 2007, only Alex Gordon and Mike Aviles remain with the team) something would’ve clicked – either good or bad – with Greinke’s BABIP. Even with a historically great 2009 – as illustrated above – Greinke’s BABIP was right there with a decent 2007.
I have no idea if this pattern will hold true heading forward, but part of me hopes it does for curiosity’s sake.