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Zack Greinke's Missing Ingredient: Good Catching??

Just read this article from Jeff Sullivan on Fangraphs about what is potentially missing in Zack Greinke’s starts with the Angels. In a nutshell: Greinke is not getting as many "extra" strikes, as he calls them, as a result from poorly framed pitches by Chris Iannetta. "There’s very compelling reason to believe that Greinke’s catching is worse now than it was in Milwaukee. It should make some sort of difference, and so it should be some sort of consideration." Would that also explain the collective pungent stench currently infesting the Halos pitching staff? I don’t believe so, but I don’t have any statistical evidence to the contrary, nor have I seen 4,000 games with my own two eyes to "validate" my personal hunch/opinion. What say you?

NYT on the "Moneyball Ethic" and Its Universal Importance

This is a nice article. The premise, or thesis, is that the team composition of this year's playoffs proves that "it's all Moneyball now." The Greinke trade is mentioned, but the Royals current status is not referenced. I particularly liked this passage: Thanks partly to the cultural phenomenon of "Moneyball," which demonstrated that teams didn’t need a big payroll to win, we’re all small-market fans now, no longer rooting for the hapless underdog — sorry, Mets and Cubs — but for the team that is doing more with less. It’s a subtle but significant distinction and it has unmistakable political overtones, especially during this time of rising class resentment. You didn’t have to spend the day dancing around the drum circle in Zuccotti Park to see Game 5 of the Yankees-Tigers division series in New York — with its constant cutaways to those slick-suited men hunched over their BlackBerrys in the Legends Suites — as more than just a baseball game. (It may be time to update the old cliché that rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for U.S. Steel. Today, it’s more like rooting for Goldman Sachs.) Discuss. - TL

Counterpoint: Looks Great! Royals Have The Advantage In The Greinke Trade

The link is to an article by the sometimes maligned Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune. While Rogers gets off track sometimes, I think he's spot on with this analysis. The Royals received a great deal of potential from the Brewers. Greinke will most definitely exceed expectations in the National League (his 2009 season would've been top 5 all-time if he'd been in the NL, I'd wager). But Escobar and Cain should mature with good coaching (something I trust Yost with more than Hillman). In addition, one should always weigh the value of a trade against what the trading team would receive if the free agent chose not to re-sign(two late first round sandwich picks, yes?). It looks like any of these 4 prospects meet or exceed the two-first-round-pick criteria. - TL

Horrible News For Cubs Fans: G-Day

As a dedicated, dual Cubs-KC fan, this trade is horrible news for Cubs fans. Every start he has against Chicago will be G-Day---game over for us and a W or, at worst, no decision for Greinke. He only underperformed last year because he was bored with KC. Expect Greinke to perform circa 2009 with Milw next season. This might be worse news than Mr. Santo's passing for Cubs fans, at least with regard to our prospects for the 2011 season. I'm sorry to be so down. But my early sense is that our years of dominance over Milw are o-v-e-r---at least until Greinke is hurt, traded, or lost to free agency from the Brew Crew. - TL PS: At least the Cards and Astros have to face Greinke the same number of times.

Another Gem From Bleacher Report

"The Royals are on the verge of making the biggest mistake in franchise history. And that is saying something!" "Johnny Damon for a bucket of chicken was downright embarrassing." "The problem is young pitching rarely comes up to the Major Leagues and has immediate success. The exception to this rule is when you have established veterans on the team to help groom them and shorten the learning curve. "

Zack Greinke hearts FIP

First time I've heard of a pitcher using advanced statistics to influencing pitching strategy.

Ptichers with ERA+ over 200 and 15 or fewer wins

Guess what? There are three in the modern era, and none of them won the Cy Young (or an equivalent "best pitcher" award), including Pedro and Clemens. Cause for concern, or just a fluke? Greg Maddux won in 1994 with only 16 wins, but his ERA+ was 271 that year.

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