With funds clearing up for the Braves after Alex Anthopoulos announcing a raised payroll and the blockbuster Matt Olson trade/contract, the Braves will be looking to fill more places in the roster.
Aside from Charlie Morton, the Atlanta Braves will, as expected, field a young rotation in 2022.
As of right now, here’s the current Braves’ rotation, according to their official depth chart.
Now there are a few other options for another starter already with Atlanta. Tucker Davidson, Kyle Wright and Kyle Muller all are young stars that have potential to start in Atlanta.
However, there’s a future Hall of Famer that could potentially bring some experience and reliability to an already solid rotation: Zack Greinke.
Greinke is 38, and will be 39 in October. With this in mind, I would expect a one-year deal to be handed to Greinke.
With Greinke’s prime clearly behind him, he’s not going to be the Cy Young caliber pitcher we’ve once seen him be.
However, Greinke proved to be a serviceable pitcher in 2021 with the World Series loser Houston Astros. He made 29 starts in 2021, earning an 11-6 record.
Greinke posted a 4.16 ERA and a 6.3 K/9. Greinke also pitched 171 innings for the Astros in 2021, which was the most by any pitcher on the team.
Here are some of the current projection models for Greinke’s 2022:
- Composite: 158 innings pitched, 4.39 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 7.0 K/9, 2.0 BB/9
- RotoChamp: 168 innings pitched, 4.02 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 7.1 K/9, 1.6 BB/9
- Steamer: 160 innings pitched, 4.59 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 7.0 K/9, 2.1 BB/9
- ATC: 153 innings pitched, 4.37 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 6.9 K/9, 2.0 BB/9
- ZiPS: 162 innings pitched, 4.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 7.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9
- THE BAT X: 153 innings pitched, 4.73 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 6.6 K/9, 2.4 BB/9
One thing to note about these projections is that all of them project Greinke to pitch at least 150 innings…. and innings are exactly what the Braves will need.
If we plug in the lowest projection, 153 innings pitched, to the Braves’ 2021 pitching leaders, Greinke would be ranked third in innings pitched behind Charlie Morton (185.2) and Max Fried (165.2).
As far as his pitching style, Greinke’s experienced arsenal of pitches would provide a boost to the rotation, while also giving the younger members of the rotation someone to learn from.
Here’s a complete breakdown of Greinke’s stat cast pitch arsenal:
- 39.9%: 4-Seam Fastball
- 22.2%: Sinker
- 16.6%: Curveball
- 15.2%: Slider
- 5.7%: Sinker
- 0.3%: Fastball
- 0.1% Eephus
Greinke is also a very durable player, only pitching less than 150 innings in a season once in his career (2007), besides the shortened 2020 season.
One of the high points of his 2021 season was his “vintage Zack Greinke” performance in Game 4 of the World Series when he pitched four scoreless innings. The Atlanta Braves eventually rallied to win this game, 3-2.
In the postseason for the Houston Astros, Greinke played in three games, earring a 2.84 ERA in 6.1 innings pitched. As mentioned, four of these innings came in Game 4 of the World Series.
Despite the addition of the designated hitter to the National League, Greinke’s .225 career batting average could also make him more attractive in the market.
Along with his four scoreless innings in Game 4, Greinke went 2-for-3 in the World Series, including this pinch-hit single against Jesse Chavez that made him the first pitcher to record a pinch-hit in the World Series since 1923:
Based on his projections and proven durability, Greinke would be a solid addition to an already great Atlanta Braves rotation. If Alex Anthopoulos and company elect to sign the pitcher on a one-year deal, it could turn out to be great for the team.