Royals: 3 best seasons for Zack Greinke in Kansas City
By Shawn Bauman
Despite not being legally able to buy himself an alcoholic beverage, Greinke put up an impressive rookie year in 2004 for the Kansas City Royals.
After just six starts in Omaha, the Kansas City Royals called up Zack to the major league roster and he was not intimidated by big-league hitters. He started 24 games and posted an 8-11 record but that did not truly reflect how well he did.
Greinke’s first start came at the Oakland A’s where he only allowed two runs in five innings and did not factor in the decision. His next start against the Minnesota Twins in KC was impressive with seven frames tossed and only one run charged to him.
He played long enough ago that his first win came on June 8th at Kauffman Stadium versus the Montreal Expos (and now current World Series champions, the Washington Nationals). Throwing shutout ball over seven innings and striking out five, he only gave up three singles while issuing no free passes.
Overall, his ERA+ was 120, he produced a WAR of 3.8 and only walked 26 batters in 145 innings while striking out 100. It was such an impressive performance he finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting and went on to have much more career success than Bobby Crosby, Shingo Takatsu and Daniel Cabrera.
Side note: Two other Royals finished in the top 10 in ROY voting in 2004; David DeJesus and John Buck.
While this was a very good start to his career, Greinke would need a few more years to get the form down that would turn him into a strikeout pitcher.