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Zack Greinke named to NL All-Star roster

He joins team-mate Ketel Marte in the squad for the National League next month.

MLB: All Star Game-Batting Practice Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

I guess this counts as “while you wgere out...” in the sense that it happened while I was out of the country! For I came back from Scotland this evening to discover that Zack Greinke had been named to his sixth All-Star roster, his third in a row and also his third as a Diamondback. Certainly a feat worth marking, I’d say - which is why I find myself writing this, while waiting for the jet-lag to kick in. Or perhaps stop kicking it. I’m not sure which.. Anyway, Greinke joins an elite list of D-backs with as many All-Star appearances for the team. Only Goldy, the Big Unit and Gonzo have made more as a Diamondback:

  • 6 - Paul Goldschmidt
  • 5 - Randy Johnson, Luis Gonzalez
  • 3 - Brandon Webb, Zack Greinke
  • 2 - Patrick Corbin, Dan Haren, Miguel Montero, Curt Schilling, Justin Upton

It’s certainly a well-deserved honor. Greinke has gone 9-3 with a 2.90 ERA for Arizona this year. The latter is good enough for fourth in the league to date, trailing only Hyun-Jin Ryu, Max Scherzer and Luis Castillo among qualifying pitchers. Ryu, Scherzer and Walker Buehler are the sole ones with a better K:BB rate than Zack’s 6.6, and his WHIP of 0.94 is second only to Ryu. It’s all the more remarkable considering the real horror show first game of the year, where Greinke gave up seven earned runs in 3.2 innings. If we discount that one, his ERA since then drops almost a half-run to 2.43, with a K:BB of 7.4.

It’s perhaps interesting to compare his first-half stats here with those of the last two seasons, where he also made the All-Star roster. And for amusement, I’ve also included what he did in the second half:

  • 2017:
    First half: 11-4, 2.86 ERA, 5.7 K:BB
    Second half: 6-3, 3.66 ERA, 3.8 K:BB
  • 2018
    First half: 10-5, 3.18 ERA, 5.4 K:BB
    Second half: 5-6, 3.24 ERA, 3.8 K:BB
  • 2019
    First half (to date): 9-3, 2.90 ERA, 6.6 K:BB
    Second half: ???

It does seem as if there has been a bit of a drop-off in his peripherals in the second-half, perhaps the result of the long campaign grinding Greinke down a bit. Over his entire career, his K:BB is about 24% lower after the break, though that has not been reflected very much in his ERAs, which have been almost identical (3.38 vs. 3.35). It has been a treat to see Zack re-invent himself and come back after a first season for Arizona where he was barely league average (ERA+ of 102), and that $200 million-plus deal looked set to be an albatross. Since the start of the 2017 season, only Scherzer, Jacob deGrom and Aaron Nola have put up more bWAR in the National League than Greinke. His contract has been not too bad at all.

If Arizona is to compete in the second half for a wild-card spot, than Greinke will likely be the point at the tip of our pitching spear. And if the team folds, then he could become a useful trade chip, even at his high salary. Though with a full two and a half seasons left to go on his contract, it’s not as if there’s a rush to trade him. Still, let’s cross any such bridges when necessary: for now, let’s enjoy the best pitcher to pull on the Sedona Red in quite a few years.