To Draft Or Not To Draft: Has Zack Greinke Become A Player To Avoid?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The News:
“A year ago, Greinke was topping at 93 mph in his second start of the spring. On Wednesday, his fastball was as high as 89.5 mph, according to the Statcast tracking system.” – Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic (click here for the full article)


The Other Factors:
While it seems like a lifetime ago, we can’t ignore the fact that Zack Greinke’s 2016 season ended prematurely due to shoulder issues.  At the time the MRI came back negative, but when you look back to that and add it to the reduced velocity this spring it is fair to wonder if there’s another issue that has not yet been publicized.


The Fallout:
We all know the disaster that was Greinke’s first season in Arizona, and the regression in his velocity is an alarming sign that a rebound may not be in his future.  While he has a full arsenal, Greinke predominantly throws three pitches:

  • Fourseam Fastball – 40.03% (he also throws a sinker 8.22% of the time)
  • Changeup – 20.74%
  • Slider – 20.62%

Generally the success of a pitcher’s changeup comes from the velocity difference between it and the fastball.  As it is the gap has shrunk a bit, as he averaged 92.33 mph on his fastball and 88.67 mph on his changeup last season.  He did still have some success with his changeup (.225 BAA, .354 SLG), though opponents crushed his fourseamer (.316/.580).  If he can’t ramp up the velocity, could the latter continue along with a regression in his changeup success?

Obviously we also don’t want to overlook the potential risk of an injury, and also how bad he was at home (4.81 ERA).  With an average ADP of 97.22, there’s significant risk in making the investment.  It makes far more sense to “gamble” on one of the many pitchers being selected after him, whether it’s Matt Harvey or Dallas Keuchel or Gerrit Cole.

In other words, consider Greinke a hands-off pitcher on draft day barring a sudden turn this spring.

Sources – Brooks Baseball, The Arizona Republic, Fangraphs

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Make sure to check out our 2017 Rankings:

Standard League
OBP League
First Base01/16/1703/07/17
Second Base03/22/1703/09/17
Third Base02/06/1703/12/17
Outfield#1-20 |03/16/17

#21-40 |03/16/17
Starting Pitcher#1-20 |02/27/17

#21-40 |03/02/17
Relief Pitcher01/02/17--


  1. Sawyer says:

    Quit picking on my pitchers!

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