Time with Dodgers: 2013-2015
Stats: 51-15, 2.30 ERA, 555 SO, 156 ERA+, 2.97 FIP, 1.027 WHIP, 4.30 SO/BB
Awards: All-Star (2x), Gold Glove (2x), Silver Slugger, Top 8 in Cy Young (3x)
Baseball Reference WAR: 17.7
FanGraphs WAR: 13.2
Combined WAR: 15.45
Back on December 10, 2012, Zack Greinke signed a six-year contract with the Dodgers worth $147 million, which at the time was the largest contract ever for a right-handed pitcher in baseball history.
Greinke was with the Dodgers for three seasons, before opting out of his contract at the end of the 2015 season. He then signed a new contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
It was a great 2013 season for Greinke, who had his best year since his Cy-Young winning campaign with the Royals in 2009. He was top 10 in the National League in essentially every category. This was largely due to the second half of the season when he turned himself into the best pitcher in all of baseball.
From July 8 through the end of the season, Greinke was arguably the best in the game. He went 9-2 while posting a 1.57 ERA over the course of his final 16 starts. Opponents hit below .200 against him, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio was better than four-to-one. His best stretch was in August, where he took home N.L. Pitcher of the Month honors. In August, he went a perfect 5-0, winning all of his starts. His ERA was 1.23.
After his start on July 3, Greinke’s ERA was 4.30. To end the season, it was 2.63.
How did Greinke follow up his 2013 season? By being just as good. His numbers were nearly identical all across the board. He was an All-Star, a Gold Glove winner and finished seventh in Cy Young voting.
Greinke’s best season with the Dodgers, and arguably his best season of his career was in 2015. He went 19-3. owned a 1.66 ERA, had a league-best ERA+ of 222 and a league-best WHIP of 0.84. He also struck out 200 batters, had a SO/BB ratio of 5.00.... and somehow still didn’t win the Cy Young Award. We won’t go there.
Greinke was flat out dominant all season. At Dodger Stadium, he went 10-1 with an ERA of 1.46. His WHIP was 0.81 and his SO/BB ratio was better than six-to-one.
From June 18 through July 26, Greinke had one of the best stretches by a starting pitcher that we’ve ever seen. He threw 45 2⁄3 consecutive scoreless innings, which is the fourth longest stretch in major-league history. Over his 45 2⁄3 innings, he struck out 43 batters while walking four. Opponents hit .124/.152/.144 against him while reaching third base only twice. Prior to his start against the Mets, Greinke had gone six consecutive starts without allowing a run. He joined former Dodger Orel Hershiser as the only players since 1914 to have six consecutive scoreless starts.
I could go more in-depth on Greinke’s incredible season, but I have a feeling we’ll be seeing it on the 100 greatest seasons in Dodgers history in the near future. As I mentioned, Greinke opted out of his contract following the 2015 season. The D-Backs offered him a contract of more than $200 million, and he took it.
It’s a shame we only got to see Greinke in a Dodgers uniform for three seasons. However, you could make the case he gave us one of the best three-year runs we’ve ever seen from a Dodgers starting pitcher.
Here is where Greinke ranks among starting pitchers to make at least 92 starts for the franchise since the live-ball era:
- .773 winning % (1st)
- 2.30 ERA (1st)
- 2.97 FIP (4th)
- 23.3 strikeout % (5th)
- 5.4 walk % (4th)
- 156 ERA+ (2nd)
- .601 opponents OPS (3rd)