There have been plenty of articles written about the Zack Greinke trade.  There were plenty of great opinions both positive and negative.  Personally, I like the trade quite a bit, but that’s not what today’s post is about.  Anyone who watched the Royals for the past four years knows how great Zack Greinke was.  He was an interesting character and a fascinating pitcher.  He seemed like he could do anything he wanted on the mound.  Opposing batters never seemed to know what was going to happen next, and I’m not sure Zack did either.  I will certainly miss that little twinge of excitement when I looked at the pitching matchup and Greinke was on the slate.  Not only did the Royals have a good chance of winning, but there was a pretty good chance that I was going to see something spectacular.

The bottom line is that Greinke was one of the best pitchers to ever put on a Royals uniform.  At his peak, he might have been the best, but he won’t have the longevity to be a part of the Royals Hall of Fame.  To honor Greinke and what he did in Royal blue, I thought I’d take a look at where he will end up ranked (barring a return) amongst the Royals Greats in some statistical categories.

I used the Baseball-Reference method of 500 IP or 50 decisions to be on the rate stat leader board.  Stats courtesy of http://www.baseball-reference.com

Innings Pitched


Player IP
1. Paul Splittorff 2554.7
2. Mark Gubicza 2218.7
3. Dennis Leonard 2187.0
4. Kevin Appier 1843.7
5. Larry Gura 1701.3
6. Bret Saberhagen 1660.3
7. Charlie Leibrandt 1257.0
8. Tom Gordon 1149.7
9. Dick Drago 1134.0
10. Zack Greinke 1108.0

I was certainly a little surprised to find that Grienke was 10th in innings pitched as a Kansas City Royal, and if he’d pitched another year he’d have likely made it to 7th.

ERA


Player ERA IP
1. Dan Quisenberry 2.55 920.3
2. Steve Farr 3.05 511.0
3. Jeff Montgomery 3.20 849.3
4. Bret Saberhagen 3.21 1660.3
5. Al Fitzmorris 3.46 1098.0
6. Marty Pattin 3.48 825.7
7. Kevin Appier 3.49 1843.7
8. Dick Drago 3.52 1134.0
9. Doug Bird 3.56 714.7
10. Charlie Leibrandt 3.60 1257.0
11. Danny Jackson 3.69 712.7
12. Dennis Leonard 3.70 2187.0
13. Steve Busby 3.72 1060.7
14. Larry Gura 3.72 1701.3
15. Buddy Black 3.73 977.7
16. Bruce Dal Canton 3.76 555.0
17. Paul Splittorff 3.81 2554.7
18. Zack Greinke 3.82 1108.0

This stat is sort of misleading considering Greinke played in an era where there were a lot more runs scored on average, but it is a testament to a franchise that has had some pretty good pitchers in it’s history.

Strikeouts


Player SO IP
1. Kevin Appier 1458 1843.7
2. Mark Gubicza 1366 2218.7
3. Dennis Leonard 1323 2187.0
4. Bret Saberhagen 1093 1660.3
5. Paul Splittorff 1057 2554.7
6. Tom Gordon 999 1149.7
7. Zack Greinke 931 1108.0
8. Jeff Montgomery 720 849.3
9. Steve Busby 659 1060.7
10. Larry Gura 633 1701.3

Zack could always strike guys out and it was awesome to watch.  I hoped he’d join the 1,000 strikeout club and possibly be the first member of the 2,000 club, but we don’t always get what we hope for.

Wins

Rank Player Wins IP
1. Paul Splittorff 166 2554.7
2. Dennis Leonard 144 2187.0
3. Mark Gubicza 132 2218.7
4. Kevin Appier 115 1843.7
5. Larry Gura 111 1701.3
6. Bret Saberhagen 110 1660.3
7. Tom Gordon 79 1149.7
8. Charlie Leibrandt 76 1257.0
9. Steve Busby 70 1060.7
Al Fitzmorris 70 1098.0
11. Dick Drago 61 1134.0
12. Zack Greinke 60 1108.0

We all know that the win statistic is the most over-rated one in existence and it doesn’t tell you a whole lot about the pitcher.  However, it’s pretty amazing that Zack compiled the 12th most wins in team history while playing for some of the worst teams to wear the KC on their hats.

Hit By Pitch

Rank Player Hit By Pitch IP
1. Mark Gubicza 58 2218.7
2. Dennis Leonard 52 2187.0
3. Larry Gura 40 1701.3
4. Kevin Appier 39 1843.7
Zack Greinke 39 1108.0
6. Paul Splittorff 34 2554.7
7. Dick Drago 31 1134.0
8. Buddy Black 29 977.7
Jeff Suppan 29 864.7
10. Hipolito Pichardo 27 669.7
Bret Saberhagen 27 1660.3

Zack could certainly be wild at times, and he wasn’t afraid of anyone.  His arsenal of pitches, velocity and command combined with just that rough edge where you weren’t sure whether he was throwing at you on purpose or on accident was always fun to watch.

Strikeouts per 9 IP

Player K/9 IP
1. Tom Gordon 7.821 1149.7
2. Jeff Montgomery 7.630 849.3
3. Zack Greinke 7.562 1108.0
4. Steve Farr 7.556 511.0
5. Kevin Appier 7.117 1843.7
6. Gil Meche 6.929 617.0
7. Jose Rosado 6.047 720.3
8. Bret Saberhagen 5.925 1660.3
9. Doug Bird 5.843 714.7
10. Darrell May 5.632 527.3

We already discussed strikeouts, but this list was too interesting to ignore.  Greinke ranks highest amongst starters in Royals history in strikeouts per nine innings.  Who would have guessed that Gil Meche would be higher than Saberhagen on this list?  Ah, Jose Rosado, I’ll always remember what could have been.

Just a sampling of some of the Royals all-time pitching leaders.  Zack wasn’t the best to wear the uniform, but his 2009 season was probably the best single season pitching performance.  His contributions to the team won’t be replicated in the near future, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have been traded.

I don’t really like how his exit from the team has gone so far.  There has been some mud slinging and some media and former teammates have taken some pot shots at Greinke.  The kid is gone from the team, that can’t be changed now.  As fans, we watched him grow and mature.  We told fans of other teams how great he was, and we celebrated his Cy Young as if it partly belonged to us.  His stats with the Royals will always be there, and we’ll always have 2009.