It’s often illuminating to see national perspectives on the Royals, and the Zack Greinke signing (if it ever becomes official) brought this one from Nick Deeds at MLB Trade Rumors:
Even in his age-39 season, Greinke will be a valuable, stabilizing presence in a Kansas City rotation which only featured one other above-average starter by measure of ERA+ last year: Brady Singer. By re-signing Greinke, the Royals have claimed one of the last quality starting pitching options on the free-agent market, leaving Michael Wacha as the last remaining starter who turned in an above average season in 2022.
While Greinke threw his four-seamer just as often to righties as in 2021, he got more whiffs, fewer balls, and better results on those that were hit. Second, he got much better results with his curve, even though he didn’t get as many whiffs. Third, he rejiggered his arsenal somewhat, backing off the usage of his slider and changeup — his two pitches with the highest whiff rates — and reintroducing the cutter, which was pretty effective. The slider and changeup accounted for 38% of his pitches in 2021, off of which batters hit six homers and slugged .403 in 156 PA. The slider, changeup, and cutter together accounted for 40.4% of his pitches in 2022, off of which batters hit three homers and slugged .400 in 144 PA. In other words, the tradeoff didn’t yield dramatically different results, but within the context of his current repertoire, it did offer a different look.
In the bigger picture, Greinke’s pretty clearly walking a tightrope, as is any pitcher with the majors’ lowest strikeout rate at whatever innings cutoff. He doesn’t have a huge margin to lose velocity or command, though the evidence does suggest that he’s still capable of fooling hitters to the point of making a league-average-ish contribution.
(From what I’ve heard, you can expect the Greinke news to be official Thursday, Friday at the latest.) https://t.co/dNOdQguUR1— Anne Rogers (@anne__rogers) February 1, 2023
Also on the Greinke beat, Kevin O’Brien at The Royals Reporter looked at what Zack’s return means for the rotation.
David Lesky looks at how successful Greinke might be going forward:
The walk rate is, of course, great. His chase rate works, he doesn’t give up a ton of barrels and he has good spin on the fastball. But that’s worrisome. I think it’s fair to look at a 1.91 ERA at home in 66 innings with just one home run allowed compared to a 5.32 ERA in 71 road innings with 13 home runs allowed and be concerned for what could happen, especially with one of the bigger road parks in the division bringing the fences in (Comerica). While the ERA was good, the FIP was just okay at 4.03 and his xERA was bad at 4.78. Is that a sign of things to come or can he continue to outperform that? It isn’t long ago that he was able to strike out a batter per inning during the 2020 season. So what changed?
It’s interesting given how good the pitch looks, but his changeup has become a very slight concern. He only allowed a .053 ISO on it, so that’s great, but he had a whiff rate of 16.7 percent last season. That’s down from 27.6 percent in 2021 and 46.6 percent in 2020. I thnk he introduced his cutter more than ever before last year partially because of that and he used his curve more than the changeup for the first time since 2012 because of that. But the question to me is if he can get the changeup to be as effective as it was even two seasons ago. Shape-wise, it wasn’t all that different. It had similar velocity, similar spin and similar vertical and horizontal movement. And yet, it was hit.
An offseason series I have appreciated is the ‘New Faces’ series at Baseball Musings, where David Pinto makes a concise list of new additions, one team at a time. I thought yesterday’s Royals edition was short, with just four names to discuss, but then it was Houston’s turn. That is a team in a slightly different part of the process than Kansas City, though...
Outfielder Dexter Fowler announced he is retiring.
Jazz Chisholm, Jr. on the impact of his selection for the cover of MLB: The Show.
The Denver Broncos made a trade with the New Orleans Saints for head coach Sean Payton.
The Houston Texans hired DeMeco Ryans as head coach.
The Chiefs will wear white uniforms and the Eagles will wear green ones for the Big Game.
Not a football person? (This is a baseball site, after all.) Here’s a guide to the Super Bowl.
Sorry to embed my own Tweet, but:
Roxanne by The Police, but it's just Rocks pic.twitter.com/cbfqySsjNd— Minda Haas Kuhlmann (@minda33) January 29, 2023
There’s a recall on jars of Rao’s soups because the company mixed up labels between minestrone and chicken and gnocchi soup.
Some examples of “junk science” masquerading as forensics, and why the distinction matters. Another that’s not mentioned in there is arson investigation, which I bring up as an occasion to present one of the best pieces of true crime writing I’ve ever read: ‘Trial By Fire,’ about Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed based on junky arson investigation.
That one is pretty heavy, so let’s end on a lighter note, today’s question from Reddit: Can you help settle a debate between my Dad (60) and I (22). Which one is the regular screwdriver. He always asks for it and he means the flat head but in my mind it’s the Phillip head. Is he an old head or am I wrong.
SOTD: Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers - Hello New Day