Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke has long been regarded as a good-hitting pitcher, but he still entered Thursday afternoon’s game against the Pirates with a career .597 OPS. For as good as he is compared to other pitchers, he swings the bat about as well as the worst bench players in the league.
So far this year, though, it’s a different story. Along with a dominating pitching performance in a 5-0 win over the Pirates, Greinke went 1-for-3 with a triple. On the mound, Greinke tossed seven shutout innings, limiting the Pirates to two hits and a walk while striking out seven. He’s now 4-1 with a 3.72 ERA and a 39/7 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings on the year.
The triple is Grienke’s fifth extra-base hit in 16 plate appearances this season. He carries a .500/.545/1.300 triple-slash line along with a pair of homers, four RBI, and four runs scored. Those aren’t bench player numbers. Both homers, by the way, came on the same day: April 2 against the Padres.
16 plate appearances is a very small sample, of course, and Greinke won’t continue hitting this well over the course of the entire season. But what fun is baseball without narratives?
Major League Baseball announced today that Mike Trout and Christian Yelich have been selected as the American League and National League winners of the 2019 Hank Aaron Awards. The Hank Aaron Award, which was established in 1999, recognizes “the most outstanding offensive performers in each league.” A fan vote is part of it. A special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron weighs in as well.
Yellich, who is a back-to-back winner of the Award in the NL, led the Majors with a .671 slugging percentage and a 1.100 OPS, while leading the National League in batting average (.329), WAR (7.3) and OBP (.429). It was his third straight year with at least 100 runs scored and he set career-highs with 44 home runs and 30 stolen bases. He was the NL Player of the Week twice and stands a good chance of winning the NL MVP Award, though a late season injury will make it a pretty close vote.
Trout, who previously won the award in 2014, led the Majors with a .483 on-base percentage while leading the American League with a .645 slugging percentage and a 1.083 OPS. He was second in the AL with a career-best 45 home runs, was second i WAR (8.3) and, like Yelich, was a two-time Player of the Week winner. He too stands a good chance of wining the MVP though, he too, had a late season injury which could knock him down to second place.