Yesterday, we poked some fun at the notion of a pitching win, admitting that while it’s a rather arbitrary metric of no real predictive value, it’s probably important for a starting pitcher to get something in terms of recognition out of a hard day’s work. I think within a single game setting, having some interest in the recording of a pitching win isn’t all that much different than caring about win probability added.
Having said that, there are some occasionally interesting streaks involving pitching wins that, while dependent on luck and the skill of other players, still offer overall evidence of success, or at least point us in the direction of metrics that prove value. None more so than the fifteen straight wins that Zack Greinke has recorded at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
Greinke has made twenty one starts pitching at home for the Brewers, and one appearance as a reliever while he was still playing for the Kansas City Royals at Miller Park. Over that time, he’s held batters to a .613 OPS, while earning a 2.47 ERA, and giving him an overall record of 15-0.
SB Nation’s Satchell Price first alerted us to this impressive streak, which one would think should be better known than it is, ahead of last night’s Brewers game against the Chicago Cubs. Greinke didn’t disappoint, going seven innings and striking out a dozen en route to his team’s 8-0 win.
Of course, it’s difficult to bring up the topic of the Brewers best pitcher without also discussing his impending free agency. Greinke is set to hit the open market at the conclusion of this season, and may even have his name bandied about over the next couple of months as the subject of trade rumours. With Matt Cain signing his huge contract shortly after the season began, and all of the attention being sent in the direction of fellow free agent to be Cole Hamels, Greinke’s candidacy for a long term contract has been relatively quiet.
However, you could easily make a case for Greinke being the very best option available as far as staring pitchers go on this coming off season’s prospective free agent list.
- Matt Cain, at 27 years old: 1369 IP, 20.1% strikeout rate, 8.5% walk rate, 3.31 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 4.22 xFIP and 26.0 fWAR.The following are career numbers:
- Zack Greinke, at 28 years old: 1351 IP, 21.4% strikeout rate, 6.1% walk rate, 3.78 ERA, 3.43 FIP, 3.61 xFIP and 33.5 fWAR.
- Cole Hamels, at 28 years old: 1238 IP, 23.2% strikeout rate, 6.1% walk rate, 3.36 ERA, 3.61 FIP, 3.40 xFIP and 24.7 fWAR.
And if he can be signed to a contract of lesser terms and value than the six year $127.5 million deal the Giants gave to Cain, or the one that Hamels is expected to get, it could represent the best deal of the coming off season, whether he pitches at Miller Park half the time or not.