Zack Greinke, FanGraphs Reader

I don’t have much to add to this article. It’s just fun.

“That’s pretty much how I pitch, to try to keep my FIP as low as
possible,” Greinke said.”

You’re pretty good at it, Zack.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


56 Responses to “Zack Greinke, FanGraphs Reader”

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  1. Or says:

    I didn’t know Greinke was saber-conscious! That’s awesome!

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  2. JonnyBS says:

    Dayton Moore is not going to like this.

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  3. Kevin S. says:

    Greinke AND Banny? Is it some kind of perverse justice that places the first SABR-conscious movement among players starts in KC?

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    • David says:

      Greinke said somewhere (maybe not this particular article) that Bannister introduced him to those stats. In that article, Bannister also said Greinke would purposely pitch for fly balls at home, because David DeJesus had a high zone rating, their outfield defense was generally better than their infield defense, and KC was a pitcher’s park.

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    • gnomez says:

      Jeff Bajenaru is actually a member of SABR. Now we just need to rally all GMs to get him a job.

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  4. Paul says:

    I’m positive he was misquoted. He really said something like, “I just try to keep my intake of non-Chipotle food as low as possible.” Readers need to check out some of his interviews because he’s the funniest dude in baseball. He makes Kevin Appier seem completely normal.

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  5. Mitchell says:

    They should make him the first ever player/general manager. He can’t do much worse than Dayton Moore.

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  6. Pete says:

    Every single time I see a baseball player extol the virtues of a SABR stat I am inclined to laugh very hard at any writer or Joe Morgan or Jim Rice who rips on stats-people as un-athletic nerds.

    Take that, you cretins!!!

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    • Kevin S. says:

      Ooh, are there JoeChat’s in the offseason?!

      If not, this one needs to be saved for April.

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    • Joe R says:

      Fun game to re-emphasize Jim Rice’s overratedness:

      Biggio (750 team run average adjusted setting): .300/.385/.461
      Rice (750 team run average adjusted setting): .296/.349/.498

      Oh yeah, Biggio could field the ball, too.
      And people still think he’s borderline.

      God I hate Jim Rice. And I am a die hard Red Sox fan.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Not only could he field the ball, he could field it at second base.

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      • Joe R says:

        So yeah, Biggio was a much better player than Rice.

        And he’ll never make the Hall because 2B/3Bs are chronically underrated, because he played for a less noteable team, and because he played in an extreme pitcher’s park. Makes sense to me.

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      • gnomez says:

        Biggio certainly isn’t a first-balloter, but he should get in 2nd or 3rd time through.

        Mattingly, Blyleven, and Freehan need to be there right about… NOW.

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      • Alireza says:

        Biggio got a magic number (3000 hits), so I think he gets in first or second ballot. If he hadn’t, I would have been worried.

        That Blyleven isn’t in the Hall is criminal. Tim Raines too.

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      • Sam says:

        Tim Raines too.

        Would you make a case for Kenny Lofton in the Hall of Fame?

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Coincidentally enough (or perhaps not!), Lofton and Rock are 78 and 79 in Sean Smith’s position player WAR database. Obviously not a be-all-and-end-all, but the eligible players above them not in the Coop (excluding active players, players retired less than five years and Pete Rose) are: Bill Dahlen, Lou Whitaker, Bobby Grich, Alan Trammell and Ron Santo. I’ve never heard of Dahlen, but I’ve certainly heard arguments that every one of the guys in front of them was also snubbed. There are a number of guys below them that many would consider to be no-doubters, including Ozzie Smith, Ernie Banks, Yogi Berra, Harmon Killebrew, Dave Winfield, Sammy Sosa (without the steroids accusations), Mike Piazza and Willie Stargell. There are plenty of other HOFers below them, but they generally are either from way back or are considered by many to be marginal.

        Jim Rice comes in at #257 among position players, right behind Jorge Posada and Phil Rizzuto. :-)

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      • Joe R says:

        “Would you make a case for Kenny Lofton in the Hall of Fame?”

        Um…

        Raines: 10,365 PA, .294/.386/.425, 84.7% SB rate, 170 HR, .305 EqA
        Lofton: 9,234, .299/.372/.423, 79.5% SB rate, 130 HR, .278 EqA.

        Seem close other than EqA? Let’s standardize their #’s across eras using BP’s translated batting stats:

        Raines: .315/.406/.485
        Lofton: .306/.377/.439

        Raines had a 123 OPS+, Lofton had a 107 OPS+. And I know a lot of people hate WARP-3 on here, but Raines had a 90.2 vs. Lofton’s 67.2. So thank you for once again being that guy who tries to stomp down Raines’ HoF candidacy by comparing him to an inferior player, while paying lip service to the things Raines did to distinguish himself from that player.

        BTW, Lofton does deserve a look for the Hall of Fame. Raines should be a slam dunk.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        I should note that since that the measure that equates the two puts both of them in fairly comfortably, so by bringing up those two together, you’re using Raines (and the others around him) to make the case for Lofton, not using Lofton to make the case against Raines.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Holy lord, I used ‘that’ a few too many times in that first sentence.

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      • Typical Idiot Fan says:

        Anybody who can safely go by the name “Rock” should be in the Hall of Fame. Lifetime .374 wOBA over nearly 22 seasons is nothing to sneeze at.

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      • Joe R says:

        That’s what’s funny about the Hall of Fame, Kevin. The standard for players w/ a particular skill set is way higher than the standard for other players.

        Leadoff hitters still have a much bigger bar than Home Run hitters. Adam Dunn, for example, has a legit shot at 550 HR, which would put him in the top 15 of all time, and you have to go all the way down to Dave Kingman (currently 35th with 442, and FWIW only 106 ahead of Adam Dunn, meaning he could pass him easily by the end of 2012) to find someone that isn’t in the Hall of Fame, and we all know Kingman’s deficincies in every area outside of HR hitting. But as much as I love Adam Dunn, does his hitting balance out the poor defense? I can’t bring myself to say yes.

        Other examples (positional in nature) are 1Bs being overrated, while Second and Third basemen have historically had harder times getting to the Hall.

        18 1B
        16 2B, but at least 3, and up to 5 of those were when 2B was one of the weaker defensive positons, closer to 1B than SS.
        10(!) 3B, and three of them are Batting Average wonders Pie Traynor, Freddie Lindstrom and George Kell.

        Third base is to baseball what Small Forward is to basketball, too many people really don’t grip the importance of the position because it’s really an unspectacular positon. Bob Elliott, Stan Hack, Darrell Evans, Ron Santo, the list goes on. For the here and now, Adrian Beltre and Brandon Inge, two lowish-OBP, average-SLG, big glove 3B.

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      • Joe R says:

        Exactly, Kevin.

        At best, Lofton was equal to Raines, at worst, Raines was significantly better. And Lofton has a real Hall case.

        So Raines should, logically, range from “A Hall Case” to “A Dwight Howard in the 2008 Slam Dunk competition Dunk”

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      • PL says:

        Ever look at Jim Rice’s numbers away from Boston? Below league average.

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      • Joe R says:

        .277/.330(!)/.459. Ouch. He was 2009 Jermaine Dye on the road for his career.

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  7. Dwezilwoffa says:

    Brian Bannister is going to be a GM someday. I would promote Bannister to the position now and demote Dayton Moore to the minors until he shows more “consistency.”

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  8. phil says:

    “David DeJesus had our best zone rating,” Bannister said, referring to the Royals’ left fielder. “So a lot of times, Zack would pitch for a fly ball at our park instead of a ground ball, just because the zone rating was better in our outfield and it was a big park.”

    Edit for truth:

    “… just because the zone rating was better in our outfield and we had Yuniesky Betancourt and Alberto Callaspo trying to turn ground balls into outs.”

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  9. Terminator X says:

    Hi Zack!

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  10. dan says:

    I wonder if he’d join my scoresheet league?

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  11. joser says:

    This makes me like him almost enough to feel sorry the M’s managed to put Yuniesky Betancourt behind him.

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  12. jpdtrmpt72 says:

    he’s my new favorite pitcher. Also, Have you see his soon to be wife?
    http://famewatcher.com/2009/05/emily-kuchar-zack-greinkes-girlfriend.html

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  13. Steve says:

    This is awesome. I’ll just add that David Cone routinely cites Fangraphs and BB-Ref.com during Yankee broadcasts. He’s not quite as fluent in certain stats, but he really makes an effort.

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  14. neuter_your_dogma says:

    Maybe if someone like Adam Eaton were more SABR-aware he’d be in the running for the Cy also.

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  15. Joe R says:

    Brian Bannister is his teammate, after all.

    But yeah, I think a lot of you guys would be surprised how many guys aren’t head in the cloud types. Listen to Eck broadcast a game, he never really cites stuff, but he shows favor for pitchers who post high K rates and low BB rates, for example, over small sample size ERA wonders. It’s not a bunch of Chip Caray’s and Jim Rice’s.

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  16. BATTLETANK says:

    dibble is great. biggest homer ever. i love it. when the phils play the nationals i intentionally listen to the nationals broadcast(i get both)

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    • don says:

      Then you may have missed when the Phillies broadcasters were deciding whether or not Adam Dunn is as slow as he looks by comparing him to 747s at the airport (“they just look slow, because they’re so big”).

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    • Sam says:

      biggest homer ever.

      Really? A bigger homer than the Hawk?

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      • Eastsider says:

        Is Hawk even the biggest homer in Chicago? Ron Santo lives and dies with the cubbies – almost literally.

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      • Sam says:

        Well, my knowledge of NL homers is really spotty. Hawk is probably the absolute worst in the AL, followed closely by whoever is in the booth for the Angels.

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      • Al Dimond says:

        My knowledge of announcers outside Chicago is very limited, but I would assume that radio announcers tend to be bigger homers than TV announcers. I grew up in Chicagoland and as I recall the Bulls radio guys in the Jordan years made a living villifying the refs, while the Bears radio team did an ad at one point mocking the notion of impartial game-calling. And, of course, Santo, who truly is in a league of his own. “Oh, geez!”

        And radio guys can get away with a lot of homerism, as the radio audience is basically limited to the metro area; based on radio ads the target market for broadcasts (especially football, but baseball to some degree too) seems to be contractors and maintenance guys driving around between jobs.

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  17. jlebeck66 says:

    “That’s pretty much how I pitch, to try to keep my FIP as low as
    possible,” Greinke said.

    I can see it now, old crusty guys saying, “See, he pitches to FIP, rather than to win… that’s why he only won 16 games.”

    And the cycle will continue…

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  18. brian recca says:

    If Don Mattingly is in the hall of fame, then Mark Grace needs to be also.

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  19. wobatus says:

    In some other article I read though he said something about not caring as much about strikeouts but his FIP, of which striking guys out is pretty important. You don’t get much more fielding independent than that. And it isn’t like Greinke’s era was awful either. Ricky Nolasco needs someone to tell him how good his FIP is more than Greinke does. I am fairly sure the voters mostly didn’t look at his FIP. And maybe he should learn about tRA*.

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    • wobatus says:

      As an afterthought, he could have said, “I pitch for flyballs, so I am pretty lucky my home run to flyball rate was so low this year.” Now THAT would have been impressive.

      Greinke was definitely awesome this year and deserving. And his tRA* was best in the AL (3rd overall behind Lincecum and Carpeneter)

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  20. CH says:

    “But his decisive margin of victory over Seattle’s Felix Hernandez was a sign that voters overlooked his deficiency in another bedrock statistic: wins.”

    My father is about as anti-SABR as you can possibly be, and he refuses to even mention wins in a CY argument. He has no idea what FIP or tRA are, but he knows looking at win totals is a bad way to judge talent. Maybe “traditional” writers/voters have started to come to the same conclusion?

    Obviously I wish they’d check the numbers a little more often, but if my father is on the “don’t look at wins” bandwagon, maybe we’re moving into a golden age of baseball reason.

    Just a thought.

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