Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals won the American League Cy Young Award today, as voted by the Baseball Writer’s Association. He finished with 25 first-place votes.
Good for you, Zack. You had a great year on a terrible team.
I have to hand it to Greinke, though. He has had some abysmal years and with the Royals almost guaranteed to finish in the basement of the American League Central Division every year, it’s good to see that they can at least have something to cheer for and be proud of.
I’d also like to point out that Greinke overcame a social anxiety disorder which kept him away from baseball for two months in 2006. Having been routed back to the minor leagues, he worked his way back to the majors after returning from his ailment.
And I have to say, I know what it feels like; as a person myself who has suffered from anxiety disorder, I know what Greinke has been through. It is not fun; it really hurts when you are diagnosed with it, I know I was. I definitely sympathize with him on overcoming his disorder. You get the jitters, your nerves are going out of whack, and you cannot concentrate.
Anxiety disorders are horrible, I’m just glad Greinke overcame his (and if you’re wondering, I overcame mine, as well; I attribute it to my parents’ divorce, but still, it was uncomfortable)
In 2007 Greinke was basically hurting in the bullpen. He didn’t have a great year, only posting a 7-7 record with a 3.69 ERA in 52 appearances.
Coming back to the rotation in 2008, Greinke went 13-10 with a 3.47 ERA. Not bad, at least he posted a winning record.
I actually saw him pitch in ’08 at old Yankee Stadium; it was June 8, the day after Johnny Damon basically single-handedly beat the Royals. It was also one of the last times I visited the old ballpark in the Bronx and it was Joba Chamberlain’s second career start.
Greinke was not impressive at all that day, tossing only five innings and giving up four earned runs on six hits. He walked four and struck out six.
I vividly remember that scorching, Sunday afternoon; Bobby Abreu murdered a long homer off Greinke in the first inning, a shot that landed in the upper deck in right field (did I mention I still love Abreu?)
Jason Giambi also took Greinke deep that day, blasting a home run in the sixth. The Yankees obviously won the game 6-3, and it was Greinke’s fourth loss in ’08.
So the one time I did see Greinke…yeah, the Yankees smacked him up.
But this year he was excellent. Greinke posted a record of 16-8 and led the American League in ERA with 2.16. And if he had gotten some help, he could have reached 20 wins, no doubt about it. If he was on a team like the Yankees or Red Sox or Angels and had received a little more run support–20 wins, hands-down.
He was 6-1 with a 1.75 ERA in his last 11 starts of ’09 and he threw one-hitters in back-to-back outings in August. He only allowed five stolen bases all year.
Now that is outstanding. It’s plain to see Greinke was in control this past year.
The Zack-man was awesome this year. The real question now is, can he do it again in 2010? We’ll have to wait and see, but I’m not sure I’m convinced he’ll be as good next year as he was this year; I mean I like Greinke, but was he just a flash in the pan?
There is no denying he earned the award this year; clearly the best man won. But I’m not so sure Greinke will have the same type of year next year. His numbers don’t lie; he has had some awful, forgettable seasons in past years.
This year could have just been an isolated incident.
The runners-up were Felix Hernandez (2nd) Justin Verlander (3rd) and CC Sabathia (4th) and they have all posted stellar numbers year after year. There has been a pattern with the other guys–they have put up the same types of numbers for a few years now.
With Greinke, it was one year. The rest of his career has been horrid. But we’ll see. We won’t know until 2010. But what we do know is that he had an exceptional, Cy Young-worthy 2009 and he deserved to win it.
Greinke is truly a feel-good story. And I am happy for him.