We all believe in Grey. That is why we are here. It is why we read every recap, every buy/sell, and why we all spend hours, and countless reams of paper, printing Grey’s rankings. We want to dominate our fantasy baseball drafts and our leagues and do everything in our power to humiliate and destroy our friends (which is what true friendship is all about).

Razzball was built on the power of Grey’s Greydar and his ability to spot fantasy baseball studs before anyone else. It works because Grey’s Greydar is a million times better than anyone else’s Greydar since he is Grey and everyone else is not. Keep in mind, however, that ranking players is not black and white. There are many shades of grey, which explains why Grey is the best Grey there is.

Nevertheless, even the best will have a few misses when ranking hundreds of players. This is why I have been tasked with questioning the Greyness of Grey’s great Greydar, specifically the players that Grey may have overrated for this upcoming season. We are calling this analysis: Over the Greydar.

In this first installment of Over the Greydar I focus on an older pitcher who has been dominate (most of the time) over his career and is coming off a season in which he finished 4th in the NL Cy Young race. While this pitcher needs to be ranked somewhere near the top, I think that Grey may be a little too high on him this season:

 

Zach Greinke

Grey’s 2018 Ranking: Starting Pitchers (16), Overall (71)

Grey’s 2018 Projections: 14-9/3.45/1.10/202 in 205 IP

Brent’s 2018 Projections: 13-8/3.80/1.25/175 in 170 IP

Zach Greinke is an “old” starter who has pitched a lot of innings over the last decade, but still managed to have a pretty stellar season in 2017. However, he did show signs of faltering in  the 2nd half, which raises a flag redder than Donald Trump’s face after 6 mojitos. Greinke will turn 35 years old later this year which, in these boring days when Jose Canseco isn’t in a bathroom stall somewhere injecting steroids into his teammates butt cheeks (or at least he isn’t doing it as a member of a Major League baseball team), is bordering on ancient. In 2017, Cranky Greinke started 32 games with 202 innings pitched. This was the 7th time he has gone over 200 innings pitched in 14 years. In addition to throwing over 200 innings, Greinke struck-out 215 batters which means he threw a ton of pitches. At this point you are probably thinking, “Brent, Greinke was awesome last year and he has been awesome for his whole career, why is 2018 the year to downgrade him? And why are you quoting me in your article if we have never met and why am I reading my exact thoughts in a fantasy baseball article about overrated players? Will it work if I think about something else? I wish Jose Canseco would inject me with steroids in a bathroom at work so I can get that promotion over crazy Bill in accounting…wow this is eerie.”

Obviously age and the wear and tear of a long career are my main reasons for worrying that Greinke will be drafted too high this season, but there is another reason: distractions. This off-season there were some trade rumors swirling around mainly because of Greinke’s hefty contract and the fact that the Diamandbacks have tended to be pretty quick to unload veteran players to get younger, cheaper talent. Last season, however, the Dbacks (I always read this as Dbags because inside I am actually 10 years old) made it to the National League Division Series and were major players at the trade deadline and, despite the trade rumors, there have been no indications that Arizona will be looking to dump salary. Yes, I just contradicted myself, but let me try to save this with a cliche (because that always works): where there is smoke, there is fire. Also, the Yankees have been said to be interested and where there are Yankees, there are trades.

So let’s catch our breath for a moment and see where this leaves us. Greinke is an aging superstar pitcher coming off a really great season in which he threw a bunch of innings and a ton of pitches. There have been trade rumors popping up since the 2017 season ended and the Diamondbacks have historically been a team that prefers cheap, young talent over older, expensive players. Players will tell you that they do not think about this stuff once the season starts, but despite all the evidence to the contrary, they are human beings just like you and me. A slow start by the Dbags, sorry, Dbacks, and the general manager’s phone will start ringing and all of a sudden Greinke is thinking about who might be his sixth team in 14 years.

Finally, one stat that jumped out at me last season like a stalker in Kim Kardashian’s bushes is the 72 earned runs. In 2016, Greinke gave up 77 earned runs in just 158 innings which was the most since he gave up 82 earned runs in 212 innings in 2012. Yes he improved on that last season, but the fact that for 2 straight seasons he has had an ERA over 3 and the fact that he is definitely no spring chicken (more of an autumn hen) scares me. To me this signals that Greinke has reached that tipping point every older player hits at some point (other than Tom Brady) where we all realize that we have seen the mountain top and we are now on the anti-climatic walk back down to base camp.

There is a lot to like with Greinke. He strikes out many, walks few, and he plays on a good team in a pitcher-friendly park (for now). Are these positives enough to make me want to lower my red flags and replace them with umm, green flags I guess? No, not for me because there are plenty of other options that Grey has ranked right around Greinke that come with significantly less risk. I must admit, the added variable of the new humidifier they will be using at Chase Field this season is an interesting twist, but unless by purchasing a  humidifier they also got a great deal on a time machine, I do not see Greinke living up to Grey’s projections and I would just let Zach be someone else’s problem this season. There is also the possibility that Greinke gets traded, so that makes it even more difficult to properly Rank the Greink.

  1. nate says:
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    He will be fine.

  2. swaggerjackers says:
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    Nice analysis. Other guys I question Grey’s love for this season:

    Hosmer – A projected 24 HR and 5 SB for a 1B in a weak San Diego offense? Doesn’t sound like top 36 material.

    Sano – Projecting 40 bombs for a guy who’s never done that in the majors, has off-field sexual assault issues, and is apparently out of shape doesn’t make me super confident to take him just outside the top 50.

    Tim Anderson – lots of K’s, terrible walk rate, bad team, projected to bat 7th. To steal from Fangraphs: “Anderson still only walked 1.4% of the time, and nothing in his batted ball profile (he hits too many grounders) suggests there were sustained improvements that can be carried forward.” No way this guy is worthy of a pick just outside the top 100.

    • Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:
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      @swaggerjackers: yeah i don’t know why he suddenly likes hosmer (albeit i guess he has in other years too)

    • Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:
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      @swaggerjackers: anderson you don’t need to spend even close to pick 100 to get as far as i can see FP averaged across many sites ADP 217

  3. LenFuego says:
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    What an incredibly weird place to start a series of posts questioning Grey’s rankings!

    Greinke finished 2017 as the 5th-7th best SP in fantasy, depending on league type and rules. Then his team installs a humidor for 2018, which experts project to lower HRs between 25-50%. Other public rankings generally slot Greinke 5th to 10th among SPs for 2018. In the face of that, Grey ranks Greinke 16th, reflecting an opinion that everyone else has Greinke way too high.

    Then Brent comes along in this post and criticizes Grey not for being too low on Greinke, but for being too *high*. That is not a “Grey is wrong” take –it is an “I am doubling down on Grey’s opinion” take.

    That is certainly a defensible position, but it is just an awfully weird place to start a series of “here is where Grey is wrong” posts.

    • Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:
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      @LenFuego: COL since humidor only lost like 17% HR’s, and MOST of that data comes from the years before juiced balls. i’d guess it’s really in the juiced ball era more like a 8-12% loss. but here’s the thing, these physics guys that have been quoted about what a ball put in a humidor box would do exactly AREN’T quantifying just what a juiced ball does to MORE HR’s in the first place. and you know they aren’t since any physicist would’ve MENTIONED that in their evaluations IF they were. not one of the guys i’ve seen quoted did that.

  4. Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:
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    wow, that’s a VERY large whip difference. .15 from one prognosticator to another is HUGE when talking about even a crappy SP, much less a top 30ish one.

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