The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ Zack Greinke has been nothing short of fantastic on the mound in 2013. With a 13-3 record, 2.86 ERA and WHIP of 1.17 in his first year with the Dodgers, Greinke’s arm has provided a sort of Ace 2.0 behind the best pitcher in the NL, Clayton Kershaw. Amazingly enough, Greinke’s arm has only been slightly more impressive than his bat.
Having been an AL pitcher for the vast majority of his career, Greinke does not have much statistical data to show for his hitting. Last season, after being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, Greinke managed to accumulate a respectable .212 batting average in 33 at-bats. He even racked up a slugging percentage of .394 in 2012, showing some power from the plate. His 2012 batting totals placed him around the middle of the pack in terms of pitchers, but his 2013 season has been extraordinary.
Greinke has an astronomical .340 batting average thus far, which places him first among all NL pitchers in 2013 with more than 50 plate appearances. Of the 37 other qualifying pitchers, the next closest to Greinke is Travis Wood of the Chicago Cubs with an impressive .255 batting average. Similarly, Greinke’s .426 on-base percentage blows out all other NL pitchers as Wood again comes in a distant second with .281.
In 2013, Greinke has the most hits, walks and stolen bases and ranks in the top five for runs, doubles, RBI and slugging percentage. Further, Greinke has the least strikeouts on the season out of all 38 qualifying pitchers with just six.
Greinke is clearly the best hitting NL pitcher of 2013 and deserves to win the 2013 Silver Slugger award for his position. To put the final nail in the coffin that is this lopsided argument, I turn to a historical perspective. Out of all NL pitchers since 1901 with at least 50 plate appearances in a season, Greinke’s batting average ranks 23rd best in that 110-plus years span and his on-base percentage ranks a remarkable fifth! Signed and sealed, Greinke’s Silver Slugger is all but delivered.
If you agree or disagree or would like to share a memory of a great hitting pitcher from the past, I would love to hear about any of that in the comments below!