At his introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, Zack Greinke came across as a very thoughtful pitcher, one who approaches his craft with extensive preparation. The Dodgers agreed.
"He is a scientist as a pitcher," said Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten. "I think he might remember every pitch he's ever thrown to anyone, and the sequence."
Greinke said coming to Los Angeles would allow him to pitch to his strengths.
"I would prefer to pitch in a park that would allow me to be a fly ball pitcher, because that's my natural ability," Greinke said.
While Dodger Stadium suppresses run scoring in general, it is actually closer to neutral when it comes to home runs, and slightly home run friendly depending on your park factor source of choice. But it is definitely less conducive to home runs than either The Ballpark in Arlington, Greinke's other possible destination, or Miller Park, his home for most of 2011-2012.
Looking at Greinke's batted ball data over the past few years, we can see someone who seems to have adjusted based on location.
|Zack Greinke Batted Ball Data|
Greinke appears to have made a concerted effort to avoid fly balls while with the Brewers. But considering he was 15-0 with a 2.89 ERA in 24 games, including 23 starts at Miller Park, with 183 strikeouts in 149⅔ innings, his methods worked. How did he do it?
"I throw a four-seam fastball and try to locate it good. I can throw a two-seamer down in the zone to get ground balls when the time calls for it or for certain batters. I try to mix up my pitches. My curve ball and change-up have been getting better every year and hopefully that continues," Greinke said. "I use my slider to strike people out. That's kind of the game plan. I don't want to change that to much, but will listen to ideas."
What about getting to hit, something Greinke could not have done, as much, had he signed with the Rangers? Greinke in his career is a .171/.190/.302 hitter, with three home runs and five doubles in 123 plate appearances, but he said he'd rather focus on pitching.
"I used to (love it), and I went to Milwaukee and loved it there too. But when you focus on hitting, it takes away from your ability to pitch. So yes, I do love to hit, but as time went on I had to give that up," he said. "When my time comes to go to the plate, I do it, but I don't think about it like I used to. It would be nice if I could, but it takes away from my pitching, so I can't do that."
Greinke focuses on pitching as he tries to recapture his 2009 campaign, when he won the American League Cy Young Award with a 16-8 record, 2.16 ERA, and 242 strikeouts for the Royals.
"There are several things I remember about that year, but the main thing I take from it each year after is that year I was consistent the whole entire year. Most years I'll start off strong pitching, I'll go two months pitching good, but I'll hit a road block and it will take me a little too long to get out of it," Greinke said. "Each year I try to take that year and try to be consistent the whole year, and don't go into any game without being 100% prepared and doing everything I can to be ready. That's the main thing I take from that year."