Once in a while during a slow off-season, as a writer you have to look around for some inspiration. I was doing so one day last week, when I came across a top 10 bum list from one of Fansided’s other baseball sites, Lasorda’s Lair. I thought, that is a pretty good idea, and at least could be some fun for me anyway. So a big nod to them for the idea, and please check out their list as well.
My list of Tigers bums doesn’t go back too far in history. Approximately the past 30 years or so, and while I am sure that there is going to be some dispute about the list (hint: Jason Grilli is not on it), I wanted to let you know what I was thinking before I start this list. Essentially, it’s about performance, or lack of it, coupled with the expectation that the player would perform. A player’s draft status, and/or who they were traded for played a role in deciding who was on this list. As well as what they have/had done the rest of their careers.
I give you the 6th biggest disappointment on my list. Seth Greisenger…….
Once in a while, bad things happen to nice people, and things get beyond a persons control. Over the course of time, injuries have derailed many a pitcher in the game of baseball. Whether it be shoulders or elbows, the mechanics of pitching, and frankly mother nature have to be on a pitcher’s side to have a long career. Seth Greisinger definitely fell under the category of a guy who battled injury, and that is part of the disappointment with him. However, he didn’t really have an out pitch either.
Drafted by the Tigers in 1996 with the 6th overall pick, the Tigers made the assumption that the polished pitcher out of the University of Viriginia would move fast, and they were correct. Ranked as the 55th best prospect before the 1997 season by Baseball America, Greisinger started his career in AA Jacksonville, where he quickly learned that professional baseball wasn’t going to be easy. He posted a 5.20 ERA in 28 starts. Still, in 1998, he moved on to Toledo where he pitched much better, posting an ERA of 2.91 in 10 starts, earning a quick promotion to the big leagues at the age of 22.
This is when things begin tumbling downhill for Greisinger.
Greisinger went on to make 21 starts for Detroit in 1998 on a bad team. He didn’t perform well, but he did hang in there for a 22 year old, posting an ERA of 5.12. He did win 5 of his last 7 starts, enough to tantalize some Tigers fans, but the underlying issues were still there. Greisinger didn’t have blow you away stuff, and wasn’t likely to ever have an impressive enough K rate to succeed at the major league level. He struck out just 4.7 batters per 9 innings over his career, while walking 3.1. Greisinger was also susceptible to the long ball, giving up 1.4/9 over his career there as well.
Mechanics were also an issue with Greisinger. If I remember correctly, Greisinger had himself a pretty pronounced wrist wrap when he delivered the baseball. For those of you unfamiliar with what this means to a pitcher when delivering a baseball, it can often lead to undue stress being put on the elbow from the tightening of the muscles it takes to produce the “wrap”. Some believe this can lead to Tommy John or elbow issues in general. In 1999, Greisinger did indeed end up having Tommy John Surgery, and for all intents and purposes, ended his career.
Greisinger did come back to the Tigers in 2002, after a couple of years spent rehabbing in the minors, but his comeback didn’t prove successful. In 2002 with Detroit, Greisinger posted an ERA of 6.21 in 8 starts with a WHIP of 1.566. He was giving up 11 hits per 9 innings, and failing to get swings and misses. The stuff just wasn’t there to get major league hitters out. Now, whether you believe it was there to begin with or not, that is up for you to decide.
Greisinger was just another in a long line of failed draft picks from the Randy Smith era. Regardless of the reasons behind the disappointment of his performance, he never lived up to the billing of a pitcher who was selected #6 overall. And that is the biggest reason he is on this list, the expectations that come from being a pick that high. I would have liked to have seen what he could have done if not for the injury, but I suspect that he wouldn’t have been much better than his rookie season. As I mentioned earlier, there just wasn’t an out pitch there.
By all accounts, Seth Greisinger is a good human being, therefore I am not going to call a guy a “bum” that suffered through injuries. The Tigers and the fans just never got the production they were looking for.