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Countdown to Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day: D-3, Zack Greinke

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Velocity or no velocity, he’ll be our Opening Day starter.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We asked you to rank the 40-man roster along with the 16 non-roster invitees to spring training, and every day between now and the eve of Opening Day, we’ll have a profile of one of those Diamondbacks.

D minus 3: Zack Greinke

  • Date of birth: October 21, 1983
  • Ht/Wt: 6'2", 200lbs
  • Position: Pitcher
  • Status: 40-man roster
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • 2016 MLB numbers: 26 games, 158.2 IP, 4.37 ERA, 134:41 K:BB
  • SnakePit Rating: 8.76 [breakdown of votes below]

I wonder if this rating would be as high, if we carried out the poll again now, after a somewhat fraught spring where Greinke was leisurely tossing the ball up there in the high eighties. This poses all manner of questions, such as: did Shelby Miller somehow figure out how to suck velocity vampirically out of other pitchers, with Greinke becoming his Lucy Westerna? Less dramatically: is this just spring rust, or will it carry forward into the regular season? And if it’s the latter, what kind of impact will it have on the numbers posted by our million dollar per start pitcher? I can offer no answers to any of these. Except the vampire one, where I’m going with a cautious no.

No-one in the D-backs organization is expressing concern - at least, not publicly. For all we know, Mike Hazen may be running round Chase Field, waving a pig’s head on a stick and cursing the name of Dave Stewart. But publicly? “The sky is not falling. Guys are going to work into spring training a little differently, especially veteran players... I think velocity is one of those things that we tend to over-exaggerate at times and especially in the spring training environment, we tend to over-exaggerate in both directions in terms of velocity. He’s still trying to get in shape and getting ready for the season.”

We should know whether Hazen speaks the truth before much longer, with Greinke taking the mound in three days time, for Opening Day against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field. It’s not often a single regular season game will go far in setting the tone of an entire baseball season, but this could be the exception. If what we get is, say, Greinke v.2015, then we’ll be wondering what all the fuss is about. But if we get a pitcher who is not much more than a shaved version of Josh Collmenter... Then never mind this season, it’s probably gonna be a long five years.

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