Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tribute to 1995 Collector's Choice - Zack Greinke

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[Edit - A Royal for four more years! Yay!]

Pictured to the left is Royals pitcher Zack Greinke. He is featured in the style of 1995 Collector's Choice Special Edition.

Collector's Choice was a favorite of mine growing up. I'd split a pack of these with my brother and dad pretty much every week.

The caption in green makes reference to my fantasy baseball team last year*, Tickle Me Hamilton. Greinke was a 17th round draft pick, and he ended up being the only starter I kept the entire season. Here are the ones I drafted with round values attached:

7. Chris Young
9. Yovani Gallardo
10. Pedro Martinez
13. Rich Harden
17. Zack Greinke

Lots of injury, age and other risks in this group. But I'd much prefer to draft these high upside starters and just ditch them if things don't work out. There are plenty of pitchers who emerge each year. And since I make a lot of transactions**, this works out most of the time, as it did in 2008. Last year I ended up with 52 / 60 possible pitching points, which was the best in our league. Here were my stats and ranks in each pitching category (twelve team mixed):

75 Wins (three way tie for second)
81 Saves (second)
975 Strikeouts (second)
3.51 ERA (fourth)
1.23 WHIP (second)

Not too bad, especially considering I traded away Harden before his mad run with the Cubs. That would have been nice to have!***

So who did I use? Here are the pitchers I used last year, sorted by innings pitched. As you can see, Greinke was far and away my most used pitcher:

Player Throw Innings
Zack Greinke 14.6% 161.1
Ricky Nolasco 9.9% 109.2
Rich Harden 6.5% 72.0
Chris Young 6.3% 70.0
Mariano Rivera 6.3% 69.1
Todd Wellemeyer 6.2% 68.1
Joakim Soria 6.0% 66.1
Dave Bush 5.6% 62.1
Wandy Rodríguez 5.6% 62.1
Jair Jurrjens 2.6% 29.0
Clayton Kershaw 2.4% 27.0
Pedro Martínez 2.4% 26.0
Hong-Chih Kuo 2.2% 24.0
Leo Núñez 2.1% 23.1
Gavin Floyd 1.7% 19.1
Yovani Gallardo 1.6% 18.0
Max Scherzer 1.5% 17.0
Paul Maholm 1.4% 15.0
Yusmeiro Petit 1.2% 13.1
Randy Johnson 1.2% 13.0
Josh Johnson 1.1% 12.0
Jamie Moyer 1.0% 11.2
Andy Sonnanstine 1.0% 11.1
Joe Saunders 0.9% 10.1
Jonathan Sánchez 0.9% 10.0
John Danks 0.8% 9.2
Aaron Harang 0.7% 8.1
Chad Billingsley 0.6% 7.0
Braden Looper 0.5% 6.0
Carlos Villanueva 0.5% 6.0
Jarrod Washburn 0.5% 6.0
Jered Weaver 0.5% 6.0
Kevin Slowey 0.5% 6.0
Manny Parra 0.5% 5.1
Gio González 0.5% 5.0
Greg Maddux 0.5% 5.0
Justin Duchscherer 0.5% 5.0
Matt Belisle 0.5% 5.0
Randy Wolf 0.4% 4.0
C.J. Wilson 0.1% 1.0
Hideki Okajima 0.1% 1.0
Jon Rauch 0.1% 1.0

Lots of pitching and ditching, but in the end I think it is a great strategy to employ. And it is a lot of fun to do.

Greinke will be a target of mine in 2009, but if I don't get him, I won't be too concerned. As you can see from my list, I'm not shy about who I use!

Hope you enjoy the tribute card!

* Many people enjoy playing multiple fantasy teams, but I've never enjoyed that as much. I like to stick with one league so that I can have a strong rooting interest in the players.

** 188 transactions last year, which even for me is a lot

*** Traded with Kevin Slowey for Justin Masterson, Aaron Harang and Carl Crawford! By all sensible baseball logic that would seem to be an amazing deal for me. However it was quite the opposite. I got killed on it, but luckily not enough to knock me out of first place.

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