Hall of Fame Case: Zack Greinke

Hall of Fame Case: Zack Greinke

by January 24, 2022 1 comment

We don’t know if Zack Greinke will continue to play. He is currently a free agent and with the lockout going on, there aren’t any calls coming in for the 38-year-old. Even if this is it for Greinke’s career, he certainly had a great one. But is it enough to get him inducted into Cooperstown? Let’s take a look at his case.

Make sure to check out all of our other Hall of Fame Cases.

Career Summary

Donald Zachary Greinke was the sixth overall pick in the 2002 MLB Draft. The Kansas City Royals took the High School kid out of Florida and pushed him to the majors two years later. At just 20 years old the youngster already showed pinpoint control walking just 26 batters in 145 innings his first year and finishing fourth in ROY voting. The next few years weren’t kind to Greinke as he struggled in 2005, was sent down to the minors in 2006, and was primarily a relief pitcher in 2007. Things would turn around though.

In 2008, he became more of a groundball pitcher and also began to strike guys out. In 2009, Greinke took home the AL CYA and led the league with a 2.16 ERA while setting a career-high for Ks with 242. The right-hander moved around over the next few years and pitched well. In 2013 he took to his new home in Los Angeles with the Dodgers.

He was excellent over the three years in Dodger Blue winning 51 games with a 2.30 ERA. In 2015, Greinke led the league with a 1.66 ERA and a 0.844 WHIP while going 19-3. He finished second in CYA voting that year to an equally amazing Jake Arrieta. After a rough first season in Arizona, Greinke settled in and pitched well for the Diamondbacks until he was moved to Houston in 2019 where he pitched the last couple of years.

Pros

Greinke is one of only five pitchers with 2,500 strikeouts and a K/BB rate of 3.90 or higher. The others are Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, Max Scherzer, and Clayton Kershaw. That is impressive company. The Florida native always had impeccable control as he never walked more than 56 in a season despite throwing over 200 innings nine times. He has a Cy Young award, won six Gold Gloves, and has been an All-Star six times. Greinke is also a much better hitter than most pitchers. He has a career .225 average along with nine career homers and nine steals.

Cons

A few milestones like 3,000 strikeouts and 250 wins may be slightly out of reach. While he did win a CYA and finished second another time, Greinke only managed three other top 10 finishes. His playoff career numbers are also not great going 4-6 with a 4.14 ERA in 22 postseason appearances (21 starts).

Verdict

Whatever it may be, Greinke may slip through the cracks and could suffer the same fate as Luis Tiant. However, if recent history is any indication, Mike Mussina made it in on his sixth ballot and Greinke has similar, if not better, career numbers. Mussina won 270 games and threw 452.2 more innings than Greinke. He does have Mussina beat in ERA (3.41-3.68), WHIP (1.159-1.192), and is only four strikeouts behind him despite tossing fewer innings. Their ERA+ is the same at 123 which accounts for the fact that Mussina pitched his whole career in the AL East. Greinke should make it into the Hall of Fame even if he never pitches another game. If he decides to come back and he can get to the hallowed number of 3,000, he will be an easy choice for the voters.


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