In 2005, the Kansas City Royals were terrible. They placed 56-106, and were at the bottom of the AL Central.
Royals "ace" Zack Greinke led the team in innings pitched (183.0), strikeouts (114), and games started (33). Unfortunately, he also led the team in highest ERA (5.80), loses (17), hits (233), and was second in earned runs (118).
His nickname was Stinky Greinke.
In 2009, the Kansas City Royals are terrible. They are currently 64-94, and are at the bottom of the AL Central.
Royals ace Zack Greinke leads the team in innings pitched (233.1), strikeouts (237), and games started (32). Also, he leads his team in wins (16), runs (60), home runs allowed (11), and ERA (2.06)
In fact, Greinke leads the league in ERA, and is in position to have the league's lowest ERA since 2000, when Pedro Martinez posted a 1.74 ERA with the Boston Red Sox.
If everything goes Greinke's way, he can raise his win total to 17 with a win over the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome on Saturday afternoon.
In Greinke's only game aginst the Twins this season, he held the Twins to four hits over seven innings and allowed only one earned run.
That is how Greinke has been all season. Despite his eight losses (the most among Cy Young award candidates), Greinke has been the best pitcher in baseball.
Greinke didn't allow an earned run during his first 29 innings of work. After his first ten starts, Greinke had an ERA of 0.84, and had led the Royals to a hot start. But eventually, the Royals became the Royals, and they faded out of the picture.
All except Greinke.
Greinke made his first All-Star team after posting a 10-5 record with an ERA of 2.12 and 129 Ks.
Greinke has been even better in the second half, going 6-3 with an ERA of 1.97 and 109 Ks.
Greinke should be a lock for the AL Cy Young, right?
In 2005, the Baseball Writers of America contracted a serious case of Bartolo Colon syndrome. The Angels pitcher was 21-8 with a 3.48 ERA and 157 Ks. Pretty good numbers, right?
That season, reigning Cy Young winner Johan Santana was only 16-8, which basically cost him the Cy Young award.
Santana led Colon in ERA (2.87 vs 3.48), strikeouts (238 vs 157), innings pitched (231.2 vs 222.2), complete games (3-2), hits allowed (180 vs 215), earned runs (74 vs 86), opponent batting average (.210 vs .254), opponent slugging percentage (.346 vs .407) and opponent on base percentage (.250 vs .291).
It would seem as though Santana would be a lock to repeat as Cy Young winner, right?
The writers saw one stat that Colon had higher than Santana: wins (21-16). Santana's Twins missed the playoffs (they were 16 games behind the eventual World Champion Chicago White Sox). Colon's Angles won their division.
This year, Greinke faces a similar situation against his main competitor, New York Yankee CC Sabathia.
Greinke leads Sabathia in ERA (2.06 vs 3.21), strikeouts (237 vs 194), opponent on base percentage (.273 vs .284), and opponent slugging percentage (.335 vs .353).
Sabathia leads Greinke in opponent batting average (.227 vs .229), and innings pitched (227.1 vs 223.1).
Oh yeah. Sabathia plays for a winning ballclub (102-57 vs 65-94) and has more wins than Greinke (19 vs 16).
If you were to put Greinke on the Yankees, he could have won 30 games this season.
But wins are the most meaningless stat for a pitcher. Cy Young has a record 511 wins, but he also has a record 316 losses, yet he still has the honor of having the award that goes to baseball's best pitcher named after him.
The AL Central has won three straight AL Cy Young awards, and four of the last five (Colon ripped off Santana in 2005). The NL West has won eight of the last ten.
This season, Greinke has posted better or equal numbers to Johan Santana's Cy Young days in Minnesota.
There is no reason Greinke, after so much failure in the past, shouldn't be rewarded for all of his success this season.