By: Noah Wright
RHP Zack Greinke has been an ace for years on end. When he likely finishes out his career on the contract he is on, Greinke could be a potential borderline HOF candidate. However, right now looking at his numbers, does he have what it takes to get the votes for the HOF?
Why he should make the Hall:
Greinke’s ERA of 3.41 ranks 177 all time. It’s similar to HOF caliber players such as Roy Halladay (3.38), and Tom Glavine (3.54). His FIP completely mirrors his ERA. At 3.41, he has a lower FIP than that of Warren Spahn (3.44), and Mike Mussina (3.57). Both of which are in the Hall Of Fame. Greinke throughout his career has been one of the best control pitchers. He has a career 2.15 BB/9 rate. Baseball Reference pins him at 147th all time (that includes relief pitchers as well). Greinke has shown he has HOF control, as he has a lower BB/9 rate than Hall Of Fame Pitchers such as Don Drysdale, Don Sutton, Bert Blyleven, and Rube Waddell. In contracts, Greinke has 2457 K’s. If he continues at a 200 strikeout per season rate, he should end his career at or above 3000 K’s. The RHP starter has a very impressive career 1.174 WHIP. That ranks within the top 100 of all time pitchers, both relief and starter. Needless to say, he is ranked higher than a handful of great talents in the past. His 123 ERA+ is also a top 100 all time between relief pitchers and starting pitchers. The same could be said about his career WAR of 60.7, as it ranks within the top 100. Greinke was a top notch pitcher throughout the prime of his career. From 2007 to 2015, Greinke had a 3.04 ERA, 3.07 FIP, and 1.145 WHIP. He walked batters at just a 2.2 per 9 rate, and struck them out at an 8.5 per 9 rate. He was insusceptible to the long ball too, as he gave up only 145 in 1760 and a third innings. Greinke also has one of the best single seasons in modern baseball history. In the past 100 years, Greinke’s ERA in 2015 of just 1.66 is the 7th best single season ERA. He finished that year with 222.2 innings under his belt, a FIP of just 2.76, WHIP of a miniscule .844 (4th best single season WHIP in the last 100 years), and opponent average of .187 (also one of the best single season opponent averages in the past 100 years). He kept walks almost completely off the board at a 1.6 per 9 rate, and gave up only 14 home runs. He also struck out 200 batters exactly. Overall, he was worth 9.1 bWAR. Greinke has even been as good as a #2 starter recently as 2017 and 2018. Between those two seasons, Greinke posted a 3.20 ERA, 3.51 FIP, and and 1.076 WHIP. Throughout his career, Greinke has been to 5 all-star games, has a Cy Young under his belt (2009), 3 Gold Gloves (2014-2017), a Silver Slugger (2013), and a
Why he shouldn’t make the Hall:
Overall, Greinke’s HR/9 of .9 is average. He ranks right around HOF pitcher Jack Morris, which is one of the few HOF comparables in that stat. However, what could kill Zack Greinke’s Hall Of Fame chances is his future performance. Zack is getting older; much older. He’s currently 35 years of age. He is on a contract until he is 37. He has already shown some signs of aging this year. Greinke has struggled greatly through his first 16 and a third innings of 2019. His fastball has seen a large dip this year, as it’s reached below 90 MPH for the first time in his career. While he’s never been a pitcher to overpower someone, it’s clear he no longer has the speed on his pitches as he once did.
Right now, Zack Greinke has a solid chance of making the Hall. I would say he could make it in the middle ballots. However, his chances could greatly hinge on his performance in the next few years. If he continues to pitch like he is now, then he could see his chances slip away from him. A similar comparison could be Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez. In the fact that he looked like a HOF pitcher for most of his career, but started to see his numbers and chances slip in recent seasons.