Zack Greinke: 5 Bold Predictions for His 2011 Campaign with Milwaukee Brewers

Alec DoppCorrespondent IMay 3, 2011

Zack Greinke: 5 Bold Predictions for His 2011 Campaign with Milwaukee Brewers

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    After suffering a rib injury just weeks prior to the 2011 season, Zack Greinke is scheduled to make his first start with the Milwaukee Brewers

    Brewers fans, rejoice.

    The first month of the season is in the books, but for the Milwaukee Brewers, who sit at a humbled 13-14 record, the season has only just begun.

    The long-awaited debut of their renowned offseason acquisition, Zack Greinke will make his first start against one of the National League's most impressive teams in the Atlanta Braves.

    Expectations are running higher with each passing moment, but the belief is that Greinke will become an unprecedented ace on Ron Roenicke's staff.

    What will his 2011 season bring about?

    Here are five bold predictions for Milwaukee's ace in the making.

     

    Alec Dopp is a featured columnist for the Milwaukee Brewers on Bleacher Report.  You can follow him on twitter: @doppler9000, and check out his new Brewers beat blog, Brewers Rumors.

He Will Quickly Become a Fan Favorite

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 10:  Pitcher Zack Greinke #13  of the Milwaukee Brewers smiles during the spring training baseball game against Colorado Rockies at Maryvale Baseball Park on March 10, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    This one is a no-brainer that has already come true to some extent.

    Brewers fans are some of the most welcoming fans in the league, and it wouldn't surprise me if they granted him a standing ovation when he makes his first start at Miller Park in just over a week.

He Will Lead the Brewers in ERA

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    ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 11:  Zack Greinke #23 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the seventh inning at Angel Stadium on August 11, 2010 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Royals 2-1 in ten innings.  (P
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    In just seven complete seasons with the Royals, Greinke boasted a 3.82 ERA in just over 1,100 innings of work.

    In his best season, coming in 2009, Greinke managed to win the AL Cy Young Award with the help of his league-leading 2.16 ERA, 242 strikeouts and 16-8 record.

    Let's remember: the Royals scored just 686 runs in 2009, good enough to be 23rd best in the entire major leagues.

    What do you suppose will happen once he joins the league's most formidable power-hitting ballclub in Milwaukee?

    With a lethal offensive unit at the plate, Greinke should be more than capable of putting up a solid effort in each of his many starts this season.

He Will Register More Than 20 Quality Starts

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    PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 18:  Pitcher Zack Greinke #13 of the Milwaukee Brewers warms up during a MLB spring training practice at Maryvale Baseball Park on February 18, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Zealously is a recurring theme for the Milwaukee Brewers this season.

    Since 2008, Greinke has registered over 70 quality starts and 10 complete games while in Kansas City—making him one of the foremost reliable starting pitchers in the game today.

    Can he be as reliable in Milwaukee?

    As history has told us, the answer to that question is a resounding "yes."

    At just 27 years of age, Greinke was an undisputed ace of an American League Central Division chock-full of power lineups.  That being said, the National League Central Division is no fluke, either.

    Nevertheless, expect Greinke to register at least 20 quality starts with the Brewers in 2011.

He Will Win His First Start Against the Braves

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 10:  Pitcher Zack Greinke #13  of the Milwaukee Brewrers stands near manager Ron Roenicke during the spring training baseball game against Colorado Rockies at Maryvale Baseball Park on March 10, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Kev
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    You heard right.

    In seven career seasons, Greinke hasn't seen many National League lineups, and the Atlanta Braves are no exception.

    Over seven innings of work, Greinke gave up three earned runs and while striking out five on his way to a no-decision against the Braves on June 19, 2010.  Don't expect history to repeat itself this time around.

He Will Stake His Claim as the Brewers' No.1 Ace by the End of the Season

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    MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 04: Zack Greinke #13 of the Milwaukee Brewers greets coaches during player inrtoductions before the home opener against the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park on April 4, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Braves defeated the Brewers 2-1.
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    As it stands, Yovani Gallardo is the ace of Ron Roenicke's pitching staff, and will hold true to that title until dethroned from his pedestal.

    If there's one guy capable of dethroning him, however, Greinke is the man.

    Though I've been rather hesitant to crown Greinke as Milwaukee's ace in the past, my conceited nature is beginning to transform into a much more positive one.

    By the end of the season, expect Greinke to become Milwaukee's most accomplished starting pitcher featured in Roenicke's ever-improving staff.