Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 2/20/13
In the last three years Zack Greinke has posted FIPs no higher than 3.34, yet his lowest ERA during that span is just 3.48. He’s been one of the most “disappointing” pitchers by FIP standards with only Luke Hochevar, Derek Lowe, and Ricky Nolasco posting larger gaps between ERA and FIP over the last three years (among the 71 SP who’ve average 150 innings per season). That’s not great company.I read that as Greinke having some of the best stuff in baseball with mental toughness that doesn’t quite live up to expectations. Perhaps I’m being unfair — after all, we already know that Greinke battled depression early in his career — but strand rates in the 60s in two of the last three years and a career mark that’s only league average show that Greinke hasn’t dominated in tough spots like an ace should.To play Devil’s Advocate for a moment, it should be noted that for Greinke’s career he has a better opponents’ average with men on base than he does with the bases empty (.261 vs. .247), but to play Devil’s Advocate’s Advocate there’s more to holding runners on base — inducing specific types of contact, getting timely strikeouts, limiting sacrifice flies, etc. — than just preventing hits.You might notice below that we project Greinke for his best season since his Cy Young 2009, and despite the badmouthing that just occurred we do like him in fantasy leagues. I believe LA is a good situation for him, though we’ll have to see if the money goes to his head, and I’m optimistic he sort of puts things together again and gives us a borderline elite season.At a GlanceStrengths: W, L, ERA, K, QSNeutral: WHIPWeaknesses: erratic ERAsPlayer ComparisonsBest-case scenario: CC Sabathia (NYY)Likely scenario: James Shields (KC), Gio Gonzalez (WAS), Yu Darvish (TEX)Worst-case scenario: Jeff Samardzija (CHC)Zack Greinke 2013 Fantasy ProjectionGreinke’s two biggest strengths are his durability and strikeout potential. Together, those two things will keep him inside the top 100 overall as long as he doesn’t implode to the tune of a 4.00+ ERA, which would be quite a feat given how stably low his FIPs have been.What prevents Greinke from really being an elite starting pitcher is his WHIP, which hasn’t been better than 1.20 since his Cy Young 2009 season (1.07) and sits at just 1.25 for his career. Despite possessing true swing and miss stuff, Greinke is way too hittable. His opponents’ line drive rate was 22.0% in 2011 and 21.7% last year, both of which were higher than the league average, and his infield fly rates have been worse than the league average for the last six seasons. In short, Greinke is plagued by high BABIPs and his great walk rate isn’t enough to fully make up for it. Expect another season right around 1.20.The biggest challenge for Greinke will be living up to our projected 3.20 ERA, especially considered he’s only once been below 3.47. Sadly, though, that puts Greinke at just 73rd overall and it’s unlikely he’ll really finish much better in the rankings because of that WHIP, so unless he breaks out for 20 wins or dominates again like 2009 — neither of which you should bank on him doing — I wouldn’t consider drafting him at his 42.6 ADP right now.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Arizona Cardinals make Jen Welter first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Junior Seau family says Hall of Fame went back on its word

Kobe will probably see time at power forward next year

Angels acquire Shane Victorino from the Red Sox

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Clemson's Swinney wants Notre Dame in a conference

Mike Pettine not ruling out Manziel as Browns starter

David Price won't rule out Red Sox despite testy past

Bullying victim Jonathan Martin retiring from NFL

Why Jay Gruden may lose job if he can’t fix Robert Griffin III

Report: T.Y. Hilton wants similar contract to Dez Bryant

Nick Saban has incredible advice for his players on chasing girls

Nik Stauskas trolls Thad Matta

Will Smith fires back at former teammate Junior Galette

Sammy Watkins: It's a "problem" if Bills don't win AFC East

The most important quarterback in the game?

Boston Mayor Walsh refusing to sign Olympic host contract

Chris Johnson accused of smashing up Rolls-Royce rental

Astros’ playoff push prompts rescheduling of Taylor Swift

Answering the AFC East's biggest questions in 2015

Bryant in 'financial distress' before signing new deal

College football's top 10 coaches on the hot seat for 2015

Was Gregg Popovich close to retiring last year?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Cardinals hire first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Seau family: HOF broke their word

Kobe to see time at power forward next year

Mike Pettine not ruling out Manziel

Galette appears to unload on Payton

Dez Bryant in 'financial distress' before signing new deal

Top 10 CFB coaches on the hot seat

Was Popovich close to retiring last year?

Kyle Busch continues historic run with Brickyard win

WATCH: Mike Trout HR lands in 'Trout Net'

With Cueto dealt, what's the market for other pitchers?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker