This player once led the league in losses but after maturing and tapping into his true potential he rebounded to win a Cy Young.
Ultimately, Zack Greinke will be remembered for his runs with other teams where he was often in the playoffs. But it was the KC Royals who drafted him sixth overall in 2002 and helped him grow as a player and a man.
He jumped to the majors quickly and at age 20 was fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting. What followed was a 17-loss season and bouts of depression and social anxiety. He even walked away from baseball for a brief time.
After only three games in the majors in 2006, Greinke played a swingman the next season and blossomed. Finally returning to the rotation full-time in 2008 he was back on track.
The 2009 season was very special despite only a 16-8 record. He led the majors in ERA (2.16), ERA+ (205), FIP (2.33) and was the best in the American League in WHIP (1.073) and HR/9 (0.4). He tossed six complete games, almost unheard of anymore. An All-Star appearance, the Cy Young crowning, and a top-20 MVP finish rounded out the year.
The 2010 season saw a drop in performance and he was traded that off-season to the Milwaukee Brewers as he made it known he would like out of Kansas City. Those seven years with the Royals (essentially six) he still managed to thrill the fans and find himself among team leaders in several categories.
Greinke owns a KC-best 3.35 strikeouts to base on balls ratio, third in BB/9, fourth in WAR and seventh in K’s. Had he played during a different time period it’d easy to see him atop many statistical pitching categories.