Friday, May 14, 2010
No, I'm not judging him based on his paucity of wins this year - I do actually understand baseball. And I know his basic numbers look pretty good; he has an ERA of 2.73 and a WHIP of 1.12. There's nothing wrong with those numbers, even if they aren't as dominating as last year. So dig deeper with me, won't you?
Let's start with a few basics. First, his K/9 is 7.5. Good, very good in fact, but a deep drop from the 9.5 he posted last year. At the same time, his HR/9 allowed has nearly doubled from 0.43 to 0.85. Again, good numbers, but substantially worse than last year. Opponents are hitting .248 against him this year, up from .232 last season, while his BABIP is at .296, below his career number of .314 (he was at .313 last year), which suggests that the opponents average is only going to increase from here.
The home run increase can be attributed to giving up more fly balls (41% FB last year, 46% this year) and a higher proportion of those are flying out of the park (6.8% of his fly balls have gone out this year compared to 4.5% last year).
What's causing this? I can see a couple of things, and the first is a drop in velocity on his fastball. Last year he averaged 93.7mph, this year he's down to 92.2mph - not an alarming drop, but enough to make a difference. And that difference has been enough to account for a huge difference in Greinke making batters miss. Last year, batters made contact just 77% of the time they swung at a Greinke pitch - this year that number is 87%. To put it in perspective, that 77% ranked him 17th in the majors. This season, that 87% number ranks him 105th out of the 115 pitchers who qualify for the ERA title.
Finally, there is a stat called FIP, which stands for Fielding Independent Pitching, which takes in all pitcher stats and spits out a number that is a projection of what you would expect the pitcher's ERA to be in a generic park with an average defense behind him. Last year, Greinke's FIP was 2.33. This year, it's 3.45.
In conclusion, although Zack Greinke is still a very good pitcher, but so far this year he's been no more than very good - not anywhere near the dominant force he was last season. Considering he was historically good last year and only managed to win 16 games, he's going to be lucky to hit 12 this year, which means that us trading him (along with Matt Kemp) for Jason Heyward, Ricky Nolasco, and Jimmy Rollins was definitely the right move.
Also I didn't start researching this to convince myself of that or anything, in case you're wondering.
By the way, prior to tonight A-Rod was 4-6 with 3 home runs against Matt Guerrier. Can we all please remember this when a bunch of yo-yos start stumping for Gardy as manager of the year? Please?