|Los Angeles Dodgers – No. 21|
October 21, 1983 |
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|May 22, 2004 for the Kansas City Royals|
(through 2013 season)
|Earned run average||3.65|
|Career highlights and awards|
Donald Zackary "Zack" Greinke (// GRING-kee; born October 21, 1983) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball. He has also pitched for the Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Greinke made his MLB debut with the Royals in 2004. He appeared in the MLB All-Star Game and won the American League Cy Young Award in 2009 with the Royals. After the 2010 season, the Royals traded Greinke to the Brewers, and in 2012, the Brewers traded him to the Angels.
Early life and high school
Greinke was born in Orlando, Florida, the son of Marsha Ann (née Wilkin) and Donald Ray Greinke. He has a younger brother, Luke. Don was a history teacher who stressed the importance of education for the Greinke kids. Zack experienced social anxiety at school, finding it hard to "fit in" with his peers.
When Greinke started playing baseball at Apopka High School, he was an infielder with a powerful bat and did not pitch at all. He looked up to slugger Mark McGwire. By the end of his high school career, he had batted over .400 and hit 31 home runs.
Greinke became a pitcher by accident, as an experiment to see if his strong throwing arm would result in him being a good pitcher. As a senior in 2002, Greinke compiled a 9–2 record, a 0.55 ERA, and 118 strikeouts in 63 innings. After being named the Gatorade National Player of the Year, he was selected in the first round of the 2002 draft by the Kansas City Royals.
Greinke turned down a scholarship to Clemson to sign with the Royals. He started his minor league career with the Gulf Coast Royals, appearing in 3 games. He was then promoted to the Low-A Spokane Indians, and shortly thereafter the High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks. Overall, he finished 2002 with a 3.97 ERA in 11⅓ innings.
In 2003, he played for the Blue Rocks and AA Wichita Wranglers, where he was named the Royals Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Carolina League Pitcher of the Year, and The Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year, with a 15–4 record and 1.93 ERA.
Major league career
Kansas City Royals (2004–10)
After starting the year at AA, Greinke made his major league debut on May 22, 2004 against the Oakland Athletics, allowing two runs in five innings. He recorded his first career win on June 8, when he pitched seven scoreless innings against the Montreal Expos. Greinke's first major league hit was a home run off Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Russ Ortiz in a 12–11 loss on June 10, 2005.
Greinke was quiet and sometimes awkward in the clubhouse. To alleviate some of his anxiety and solitude, the Royals arranged for him to live with legendary Royals third baseman George Brett. Still, Greinke's uneasiness grew. By the 2005–2006 offseason, he almost quit baseball. He has stated that he was "surprised [he] came back" to baseball. He left spring training for personal reasons in late February 2006. It was later revealed that he was suffering from social anxiety disorder and depression. He reported back to the Royals' spring training facility in Surprise, Arizona, on April 17, where he underwent ongoing pitching sessions. He was placed on the 60-day disabled list due to psychological issues and took time away from baseball entirely. He began seeing a sports psychologist and taking anti-depressant medication.
In 2007, he returned to the Royals rotation at the start of the season, but was sent to the bullpen in early May. Greinke's 2008 saw him return to the rotation and put up a good year. His 3.47 ERA was the best by a full-time Royals starter in 11 years. On January 26, 2009, Greinke agreed to a four-year contract with the Royals worth $38 million.
Greinke started off 2009 by not allowing a run in his first 24 innings. Greinke's 2008 season ended with 14 scoreless innings, which meant that for 38 innings in a row, he had not given up a run. Greinke was named American League Pitcher of the Month for April, his 5 wins, 0.50 ERA and 44 strikeouts all tops in the Majors. On August 25, Greinke struck out 15 batters, breaking Mark Gubicza's record for strikeouts in a single game for the Royals. On August 30, Greinke had a one-hit complete game against the Seattle Mariners
His record for the 2009 season was 16–8, and he posted an ERA of 2.16, the lowest in MLB. On October 21, Greinke was named American League Pitcher of the Year by Sporting News. On October 28, Greinke was awarded the MLBPA Players Choice AL Pitcher of the Year. On November 17, 2009, Greinke won the AL Cy Young Award. Greinke credited some of his performance to his use of "modern pitching metrics" — statistics on team defense and defense independent pitching statistics — to calibrate his own approach to pitching. Greinke specifically mentioned FIP (fielding independent pitching), an indicator developed by sabermetrician Tom Tango, as his favorite statistic. "That's pretty much how I pitch, to try to keep my FIP as low as possible.
Milwaukee Brewers (2011–2012)
On December 17, 2010, Greinke reportedly asked the Royals to trade him, citing he was not motivated to play for a rebuilding team. On December 19, he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers with Yuniesky Betancourt and $2 million for Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeremy Jeffress, and Jake Odorizzi. He was given the number 13, instead of his preferred number 23, due to number 23 already being issued to Rickie Weeks. In February 2011, Greinke suffered a fractured rib while playing basketball. He subsequently started the 2011 season on the disabled list.
Greinke made his Brewers debut on May 4, 2011. Greinke finished second on the team in wins despite missing the first month of the season. He finished 2011 with a 16–6 record, 3.83 ERA, and 201 strikeouts (7th in the NL) in 171 innings pitched while surrendering 45 walks. Greinke became only the fifth Brewer pitcher to strike out 200+ batters in a season. He was fourth in the NL in won-lost percentage (.727), and sixth in wins. He went a perfect 11–0 in his starts at Miller Park.
On April 7, 2012, in his first start of the season, Greinke pitched 7 scoreless innings while giving up 4 hits and striking out 7. The Brewers went on to beat the Cardinals 6–0.
In an oddity, Greinke became the first pitcher to start three straight games for his team in 95 years. On July 7, he was ejected from the game after just 4 pitches for angrily throwing the ball into the ground following a close play at first base. The following day, Greinke started again, but lasted only until the third inning. The All-Star break followed, and Greinke was the Brewers' starter on July 13, the team's next game. Greinke's third start ended after 5 innings. Before this, the most recent pitcher to start back-to-back-to-back games was Red Faber in the 1917, who started both games of a September 3 doubleheader, throwing just six innings in total, followed by a complete game win the following day.
Greinke never recorded a loss in any of his starts at Miller Park.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2012)
The Brewers traded Greinke on July 27 to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for top infield prospect Jean Segura and pitchers Ariel Pena and John Hellweg. He made his first start for the Angels on July 29.
After a stretch of four unproductive starts from August 3–19 (1–1, 7.20 ERA in 25 innings), Greinke followed up with four consecutive starts of at least seven innings and two or fewer runs — all of them wins. (In those starts, he produced a 1.88 ERA in 28⅓ innings.)
Greinke became the first pitcher since 1920 to record 13 strikeouts in five innings or less in a game against the Seattle Mariners on September 25. He would then combine with four other Angels pitchers to tie an American League record by striking out 20 batters in a nine-inning game.
Los Angeles Dodgers (2013–present)
Greinke agreed to a six-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers worth $147 million, on December 8, 2012. The deal, which was finalized on December 10, was the largest ever for a right-handed pitcher at the time it was signed.
On April 11, 2013, Greinke fractured his left collarbone in a brawl with Carlos Quentin of the San Diego Padres after Quentin was hit by an inside pitch and charged the mound. He was placed on the disabled list and it was revealed that he would require surgery, which was performed on April 13. It was estimated that he would miss eight weeks of the season. However, he returned to game action on May 10 when he pitched in a rehab game for the Class-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. He returned to the Dodgers on May 15.
On June 11, 2013, Greinke was hit in the head and neck area by Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Ian Kennedy, leading to a bench-clearing brawl. Because Greinke did not participate in the fight, he was not ejected.
He picked up career win #100 on August 5, 2013 against the St. Louis Cardinals. He was 5–0 with a 1.23 ERA during the month of August and was selected as National League Pitcher of the Month. Greinke finished his first season with the Dodgers with a 15–4 record and 2.63 ERA in 28 starts. He also batted .328, the highest batting average for a Dodgers pitcher since Orel Hershiser in the 1993 season. He was awarded with the Silver Slugger Award as the best hitting pitcher in the National League.
Greinke throws six pitches:
- Four-seam fastball — 93 to 96 miles per hour (150–154 km/h)
- Two-seam fastball — 92 to 95 miles per hour (148–153 km/h)
- Cutter — 88 to 91 miles per hour (142–146 km/h)
- Slider — 83 to 86 miles per hour (134–138 km/h)
- Curveball — 68 to 77 miles per hour (109–124 km/h)
- Changeup — 85 to 87 miles per hour (137–140 km/h)
Greinke has also experimented with an Eephus pitch at around 55 mph.
His two-seamer is his most-used pitch against right-handed hitters and is used more frequently than against lefties, as is his slider. His changeup is only thrown to left-handed hitters. Greinke's curveball is typically used early in the count, while his slider is his most common 2-strike pitch.
In the time since PITCHf/x began tracking pitch data, Greinke's slider has produced impressive results. Hitters have only a .154 batting average and .230 slugging percentage against the pitch. It has produced 51% of his strikeouts, exceeding the 39% it composes of his 2-strike pitch total. Its whiff rate is 42% over this span, and more than half the pitches put in play are ground balls.
Greinke has produced good strikeout-to-walk ratios throughout his career, finishing in his league's top 10 four times. As of September 11, 2012[update], Greinke ranks 10th among active pitchers in the category, at 3.5:1.
- List of Major League Baseball ERA champions
- List of Major League Baseball pitchers who have struck out four batters in one inning
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- zack greinke
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zack Greinke.|
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
|Awards and achievements|
|American League Cy Young Award
|American League Pitcher of the Month