Zach Greinke, at age thirty-one, is one of the best pitchers in Major League baseball. Quiet, unassuming and affable, he is pleasant and soft-spoken – a nice guy. He is also hard to hit. Until the New York Mets scored an unearned run against him in his last start, he had pitched 45.1 consecutive scoreless innings.
It wasn’t always like that for this six foot tall right-hander. Drafted by the then bottom-feeding Kansas City Royals in 2002, he was highly touted and was picked by that team in the first round, the sixth overall selection.
Greinke got his call to the Major Leagues on May 22, 2004 and made his debut that very same day. The Royals were not a good team that season and Greinke, still honing his craft, finished below .500 with a losing record.
Graphic via hardballtalk
He remained a member of Kansas City for seven years, from 2004 through 2010. His record for all those seasons with a losing team was a pedestrian 60-67. Given that the team lost far more frequently than it won, Greinke’s won-loss record is not that bad.
The truth is it didn’t scare away trading partners. After the 2010 season ended, Kansas City sent their pitcher packing to the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League. Greinke, then considered a top-of-the-rotation pitcher performed very well for the Brewers during the two years he played for them. His record was an outstanding 25-9.
Midway through the 2012 season, Milwaukee traded Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels where he produced a half season won-loss record of 6-2.
Finally a free agent after the 2012 season ended, Zack Greinke was able to select his next destination. It turned out to be the high-flying Los Angeles Dodgers, a team collecting top players and hoping to win a World Series.
Los Angeles rewarded their newest ace with a huge six year contract worth a whopping $147 million. Not surprisingly, this ace has proven his worth every time he takes the mound. His won-loss record in two-and-one-half years is an eye-opening 41-14.
Importantly, he has been virtually unhittable so far this season and has put together a 45.1 inning scoreless streak while pitching to a miniscule Earned Run Average of just 1.30.
Together with fellow ace Clayton Kershaw, Greinke gives the Dodgers a starting combo that may lead them to a World Series victory later this year.
And while Greinke has been spectacular in 2015, better than he was in 2014, it seems perfectly reasonable to believe he will continue his mound mastery for the remainder of this season. The Dodgers have a stacked lineup that scores runs. Greinke pitches zeroes, he doesn’t give up runs.
It’s a lethal combination that should enable this incredible pitcher to dramatically improve his current win-loss record of 9-3.
Graphic via insidesocal