Saturday, May 16, 2015

Posts From The Past: Zack Greinke Scouting Report, 2006

Name: Zack Greinke
Ht: 6'2" Wt: 175
Position: SP
Organization: Kansas City (AL)
Bats: R
Throws: R
Drafted: KC's 1st pick, 2002

Greinke was drafted out of Apopka High in Orlando, Florida, as KC's #1 pick in 2002. Having pitched only limited innings in Rookie and A-ball that year, KC made the unique decision of assigning Greinke to the Puerto Rican League for the winter, the first player coming out of HS ever to appear in the league. Greinke made a strong showing in 25 2/3 innings, posting a 2.45 ERA and more than holding his own against much more seasoned talent.

Zack made a great impression in Class A Carolina League in 2003, making an 11-1, 1.14 ERA showing in 14 starts before a Double-A promotion in July. Perhaps most notable was his 18 walks in 140 IP, an astounding 1.16 per 9 IP!

A very good indicator of future success in the Majors, BB/9 IP is something to which I pay quite a biy of attention. Perhaps for this reason, Greinke has drawn the obvious Greg Maddux comparisons from some, and that may not be as far off target as it may sound.

Greinke has solid command of four pitches, changes speeds very well, is poised well beyond his years, and projects to actually get better than he already is, which will carry him into #1 starter-land in the ML.

Forget about the 5-17, 5.80 ERA in 2005; the experience he gained will be valuable in his learning process. Greinke throws a mid-90's's four-seamer, altering speeds to disrupt a batter's timing in deference to just blowing it by them. He also throws a late-sinking 2-seamer, a hard and late slider, and a slow curve at around 66 mph that baffled most hitters. What stands out about Greinke's mound presence is that he focuses on changing speeds, grips and arm angles, as opposed to the common tendency of most young pitchers to throw it past you. This, in my opinion, is key to a pitcher's longevity: let the changing of speeds and location work for you.

Greinke is also very athletic, fielding his position well. In terms of endurance, his body has yet to fully mature physically, and by the time that happens he could easily be a 220 inning guy each year.
All things considered, Zack Greinke is definitely One to Watch.

2006 Projection: 10-14, 4.50 ERA, 30 starts, 175 IP, 65 BB.

I don't expect Greinke to do much better than this. After all, he DOES play for KC. If the Royals can manage even a slight improvement in run production, Greinke could make it to 12 wins, but don't hold your breath. Look at the month of April, for example. He lost all 5 of his starts, allowing only 10 ER (3.65 ERA) for the month, but with a handful of runs from KC he could have won 2 of those, at least. His first 2 starts (2 1/3 IP, 6 IP) he allowed exactly 0 runs. OK, so 2 1/3 doesn't really count, but April 2005 could be the story of his young life for a while.

The important thing to remember is that, barring injury (of course), Zack Greinke will be a ML starter of the highest order within 3 years.
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