Monday, March 14, 2005

Is Grienke really that good?

Dan stole some of my thunder with his post about Zack Grienke.

I was reading the 2005 edition of Baseball Prospectus in preparation for our annual trip to the Cactus League (We leave this Saturday morning). I was shocked to read BP's analysis of Grienke. Typically, BP has a negative tone to most of their player comments. But in Grienke's case, BP was absolutely glowing. In fact, PECOTA assigned Grienke a 0% collapse value. Unheard of.

So this begs the question - is Grienke really that good? There is a lot of debate on this question. Bill James has said that he doesn't believe Grienke has much upside because of his lack of an "out" pitch.

I don't have the tenacity or patience to do the analysis (see Dan's post for that), but I've seen Grienke pitch and I'm excited. He's a kid, and he's confident. He's not afraid to come after hitters, whether it's with a 94MPH fast ball or a 55MHP slow curve. Last season he quick pitched twice. In one case that I saw on TV, the umpire wasn't ready and he gave the hitter a walk, even though the pitch was right down the middle. His control is amazing. His only weakness last season was a tendency to give up the long ball. And of course, given his team's anemic offense, those homeruns usually cost him a win.

Grienke has struggled this spring. In 2 starts, he's carrying a bloated 19.64 ERA. After his first start, Grienke admitted he was trying to throw right down the middle. He said he was testing his ability to let the batter put the ball in play. They did, indeed.

Hopefully, Grienke will pitch in one of the Royals games I'll see in Arizona this week. I'm anxious to see for myself how his stuff is.

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