If I would’ve told you in spring training that Luke Gregerson would produce a higher WAR from a non-closer’s reliever role than Khalil Greene, you would’ve painted me eight different shades of crazy. It’s not longer insanity, it’s reality. Greene has struggled through his first season in the heartland, posting a .641 OPS to date and causing the Cardinals to acquire alternative options to fill their middle infield roles.
Gregerson on the other hand, has pitched about as well as you could ask. A 2.33 FIP and 2.62 tRA are extremely solid. His sinker/slider combination is producing groundballs (45.5%), infield flies (16.1%), and outfield flies that aren’t turning into home runs (3.6%). Nobody is hitting him. His 65.7% contact rate is one of the lowest in the major leagues. He’s not just blowing fastballs by hitters like Jonathan Broxton either, Gregerson’s fastball sits in the low-90s and he uses his slider (which sits in the low-80s) on a nearly equal basis. There’s some deception involved and his arsenal causes batters to swing out of the strike zone on nearly 40% of occasions.
In the spring, Padres Assistant General Manager Paul DePodesta wrote this on his blog:
We came into this spring knowing that a number of bullpen roles would be up for grabs, and with the recent loss of Mark Worrell for the year to elbow surgery (the other player acquired for Khalil) there are fewer guys in the mix. Our scouts believe that Luke could factor in our pen sometime in 2009, so we’re excited to add him.
I’d say Gregerson has exceeded expectations.