Zack Greinke Is Awesome
The next time that you try to sell someone on FIP and that they tell you that its a load of crap reserved for nerds who have never played the game, tell them Zack Greinke disagrees.
Bannister, a right-handed starter, is known for his appreciation of modern pitching metrics, which emphasize the factors for which pitchers are essentially responsible: walks, strikeouts, home runs and hit batters. In Greinke, he found a like mind.
â€œHeâ€™s extremely bright, and heâ€™s really picked up on using all the information out there to make his game better,â€ Bannister said by telephone. â€œHeâ€™s always had the talent. His confidence level, which is extremely high, combined with his knowledge of the numbers behind the game now, definitely makes him one of the best pitchers in the world.â€
Bannister said Greinke has learned to adjust his pitching based on the advanced defensive statistics. Because of the size of the outfield at Kauffman Stadium and the strength of the Royalsâ€™ outfielders, relative to their infielders, it sometimes made more sense to induce fly balls.
â€œDavid DeJesus had our best zone rating,â€ Bannister said, referring to the Royalsâ€™ left fielder. â€œSo a lot of times, Zack would pitch for a fly ball at our park instead of a ground ball, just because the zone rating was better in our outfield and it was a big park.â€
To that end, Bannister introduced Greinke to FIP, or Fielding Independent Pitching, the statistic Greinke named Tuesday as his favorite. It is a formula that measures how well a pitcher performed, regardless of his fielders. According to fangraphs.com, Greinke had the best FIP in the majors.
â€œThatâ€™s pretty much how I pitch, to try to keep my FIP as low as possible,â€ Greinke said.
The reigning AL Cy Young winner, quoting FIP in the interview after he won the award. Welcome to the 21st century of baseball. This isn’t some kind of weird math for the lunatic fringe anymore.