Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Thursday, April 05, 2007

While Your Attention Was Focused Elsewhere

Daisuke Matsuzka made his major league debut today, and was pretty much everything that he was advertised to be. Sure, it was the Royals, but the Royals aren't a pushover any more, especially offensively.

But you can (and probably have) read and hear about that anywhere. There was another outstanding pitching performance in Kansas City today, a great story that went virtually unnoticed.

In 2004, Baseball Prospectus listed Zach Greinke as the number seven prospect in baseball, comparing him favorably to Bret Saberhagen and Greg Maddux. Prospect expert John Sickles agreed, making Greinke his number one pitching prospect in the land. Pitching for a miserable (58-104) Royals team in 2004 (as if there has been any other kind of Royals team the past decade), Greinke, age 20, posted an 8-11 record and a 3.97 ERA. The team ERA was 5.15.

The Royals were terrible again in 2005, but Greinke started well. However, he almost completely collapsed in the second half and finished 5-17, 5.80. Still, he was just 21, and certainly could be thought of as having a bright future.

His future took a detour. In the spring of 2006, the Royals placed Greinke on the disabled list and sent him home. Few details were forthcoming, but it is now known that Greinke was suffering from a social anxiety disorder. He missed most of the season, pitching decently in AA during the second half of the season and making a late season cameo with the Royals.

Zach Greinke pitched against Matsuzuka today, and pitched one hell of a game. Facing the Red Sox, one of the best offensive teams in the majors, Greinke pitched seven innings, allowing eight hits and two runs, one earned. He struck out seven and walked just one.

The game story today on Yahoo! sports ran 949 words long. This is the entire mention of Greinke:

Zack Greinke (0-1), who missed almost all of last season due to social anxiety disorder, struck out seven in seven innings, allowing two runs and eight hits.

Thanks for noticing. Greinke got in the way of the big story, you see. No one was there to see him today, and he's only a Royal, so who cares?

I'm pretty sure that the Red Sox noticed. Probably a few scouts did, too. A few more starts like this one, and maybe the rest of the country will catch on, too.


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