Fantasy Baseball 2011 Hot Stove Report: Zack Greinke

Andrew SwansonContributor IIJanuary 25, 2011

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 11:  Zack Greinke #23 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on August 11, 2010 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

After a lackluster 2010 season in which he went 10-14 with an ERA of 4.17, Zack Greinke was traded by the Kansas City Royals to the Milwaukee Brewers for a few minor leaguers.

Greinke joins a young pitching staff led by Yovani Gallardo and newly acquired Shaun Marcum, as the Brewers load up for a playoff push in what could be Prince Fielder’s final year with the team.

The Royals drafted the young right-hander as the sixth overall pick in the 2002 draft in hopes that he would become the ace of their pitching staff after a few years in the minor leagues.

Although Greinke had a breakout 2009 Cy Young season in which he won a career-best 16 games while posting a league-leading 2.16 ERA, the young pitcher has been inconsistent at best over his seven-year career. If you exclude his record-setting 2009 campaign, Greinke has a career ERA of 4.26 with a pedestrian 44-59 win-loss record.

Although his career numbers are not spectacular, there is no denying the fact that Greinke has an amazing collection of pitches that should wreak havoc on National League hitters that have yet to face the young righty.

In addition, Greinke will be surrounded by two things that he has lacked during his time in KC: a powerful offense that will provide run support and a solid rotation that will allow him to avoid being the team’s only viable starting pitcher. These two facts lead me to believe that if Greinke can stay healthy, he should have a solid debut season for the Brewers.

From a fantasy perspective, Greinke gives owners a strikeout pitcher who has stuck out no less than 180 batters each of the last three seasons, while providing at least 200 innings pitched. As I mentioned earlier, his 2.16 ERA in 2009 was an aberration, and fantasy owners should not expect a sub-3.00 ERA from him in 2011. However, it is not out of the realm of possibility for him to post something in the area of a 3.50 ERA.

The biggest change I expect from Greinke is an increase in wins, as he will be given much more run support from a potent offense led by Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.

Look for Greinke to fall out of the top 10 of starting pitchers, as his 2010 turd of a season burned many an owner last year, although it is very possible that he will produce top 10 stats based on the factors I presented above. I like him as a second or third starter; however, I would not advise drafting him as an ace for your fantasy squad.

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