2) RHP Zack Greinke
Greinke is one where fans collectively hold their breath waiting for the wheels to fall off, but they just haven’t. Here we are in the age of velocity, where throwing hard is taught and encouraged. Velocity certainly helps most pitchers, but now and then there are still guys who can finesse their way through a lineup–and that is exactly what Greinke has built the second half of his career on.
Gone are the days of Greinke blowing away Detroit Tigers hitters in his powder-blue Royals uniform, but Greinke has provided stability through his later years even without the heat. Since 2012, Greinke has thrown over 200 innings six different seasons while supplying a 3.13 ERA and a 131 ERA+ over that same span.
While Greinke’s fastball velocity ranks in the seventh percentile of the league, he maintains a stellar 5.2 percent walk rate; good for the 92nd percentile of all pitchers. Despite his overall effectiveness, his strikeout rate decreased significantly–leaving many to wonder if his below-average movement profiles and lack of velocity will soon catch up with him.
Greinke will assuredly take a cut from the $35 million salary he made in 2021, but forecasting what he will receive on the open market proves difficult. On one hand, Greinke is still effective and his resume is littered with accolades. On the other, his peripherals are quite alarming and his personality would be categorized strange, at best–making any possible veteran leadership-type role a questionable assignment.