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2011 Stats: 171.2 IP, 16-6, 3.83 ERA, 201 K
Career Stats: 1279.2 IP, 76-73, 3.82 ERA, 1132 K
As I mentioned earlier in the article, the Milwaukee Brewers knew they need pitching to succeed in a tough NL Central, and they gave up several major league-ready players and top prospects to acquire Zack Greinke from the Kansas City Royals.
Zack Greinke frightened Brewers fans before the season even began, breaking his ribs during a pick-up basketball game, missing all of spring training and the first month of the season. Then, when he finally made his first start as a Brewer, he certainly did not inspire confidence in Brewers fans that he was worth the price the Brewers paid to get him. In May, Greinke posted a 5.29 ERA, and in June, he posted a 6.04 ERA. Somewhat bizarrely, Greinke was still pitching fairly well, striking out 80 batters in only 62.1 innings, while only walking 12.
Fans patiently waited for Greinke to become the ace they knew he could be, and when he finally arrived, he did not disappoint. Over the course of the last three months, Greinke posted a 2.80 ERA, and struck out 121 over 109.1 innings. If Greinke had not missed the vital training and preparation of spring training, it's not hard to imagine him putting together a Cy Young season.
Speaking of Cy Young, Zack Greinke is also responsible for one of the single most dominant seasons by a pitcher in MLB history. In 2009, Greinke went 229.1 innings, posted an ERA of 2.16, struck out 242 and was the overwhelming winner of the Cy Young award.
Greinke and Gallardo have become one of the best one-two combinations in baseball. They were the first pair of pitchers in Brewers history to strike out 200 batters in a season, Greinke doing so in impressive fashion, finishing with a MLB-leading 10.5 K/9.
Looking at the second half of 2011, and his 2009 season, Greinke's potential is frightening to any batters that have to face him. He has electric stuff, impressive control and a mentality solely focused on pitching well and helping his team win. The Brewers would do well to extend him, something both Greinke and the Brewers have expressed interest in.