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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What Can We Expect of Zack Greinke in 2012?

More than we got in 2011? After joining the team in May last year Greinke put together a pretty solid year for the Brewers. All told he finished with a 16-6 record, 3.83 ERA, 1.2 WHIP, 201 strikeouts and a league-leading 10.5 K/9 while pitching only 171.1 innings over his shortened season. He gave up long balls at a higher rate and underperformed in the postseason but for the most part was the co-ace the Brewers hoped for when they sent a slew of prospects to the Royals in December of 2010.

Greinke will probably never match his 2009 season, one of the best by any pitcher in recent memory. Expecting him to do so is simply unrealistic. But his high strikeout rate suggests he still possesses the same exceptional pure stuff that could lead to another great season.

He should feel more comfortable in his second season with the Crew. He should feel less pressure to perform since he's no longer the new guy and barring injury should be able to pitch the entire season. He's talked publicly about the trust that developed last season between he and Ron Roenicke, as well as his faith in Jonathan Lucroy as his catcher. Additionally, an improved infield defense behind him can only help matters. Aramis Ramirez, Mat Gamel, and especially Alex Gonzalez all represent clear defensive upgrades over their predecessors. All in all I think we'll get an even better season out of Greinke in 2012 than we did in 2011.

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