Greinke’s power changeup only represents a two-tick velocity difference from his heater on the radar gun, sitting at 87.5 mph, but the pitch’s movement is the real special sauce here. The change boasts a 62.2% ground-ball rate and elicits a 45% chase rate, en route to a stellar 16.9 pVAL.
Greinke’s curveball earned the coveted Money Pitch tag for the second year running in the veteran’s age-35 season, notching a 17% swinging-strike rate, 43.5% chase rate, and 47.4% zone rate. The fluttering curve (a breezy 70.6 mph on average) left batters scuffling to a .160/.198/.272 line.
As has been the case for a few seasons now, Greinke has had to rely on guile (64th-percentile spin rate on Statcast) over velocity (90 mph, 12th percentile) for his fastball to be effective. Greinke’s heater finds the zone at a 59.8% clip and holds an 18.1 K-BB%, so the wily veteran proves he can locate the pitch where he needs it.
Greinke’s slider managed 10-year lows in SwStr% and O-Swing%, as well as a career-high 29.2% LD%. All of those factors combined to produce a career-low 20.1% K% and career-high 96 wRC+ on the pitch.
Greinke’s primary pitch, the four-seamer, has now lost three ticks of velocity since 2015, down to an average of 89.6 mph. The pitch earned a -5.4 pVal thanks to a .290 BAA and .361 wOBA. Greinke locates the pitch well (55.0 Zone%), but when the pitch is out of the zone, batters just weren’t chasing (17.6 O-swing% 2018, down from 23.2% in 2017.
Greinke’s changeup was once again elite in 2018, ranking third in the league with a 12.6 pVal. The pitch had an incredible 70.8 GB% to go along with a .177 BAA. However, despite a 46.9 O-swing% and 16.0 SwStr%, the pitch only managed a 23.3 K%. Though Greinke has had similar O-swing and SwStr rates and this was his highest strikeout rate with the pitch, I wouldn’t expect it to develop into more of a strikeout pitch.
Greinke threw his slider more in the zone in 2018 and as a result, the pitch became more hittable. The contact rate spiked from 56.4% in 2017 to 68.9% in 2018, and the BAA jumped over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015 at .246. As a result of the increased contact, SwStr% and O-swing% were down to 17.3% (25.5% in 2017) and 44.2% (51.6% in 2017), respectively, which caused his K% to go under 30% for the first time in his career.
Greinke’s curveball was the fifth-best in the league according to pVal (9.1) and it registered as a Money Pitch in 2018. It sported a 41.8 Zone%, 41.7 O-swing% and 15.1 SwStr%, which led to a 32.8 K% and a .152 BAA.
Only thrown 5% of the time, Greinke’s two-seamer is not a huge part of his arsenal. The pitch performed decently, allowing a .250 BAA, but only recorded a 2.7 K%.
Greinke only threw his slow curve 3% of the time in 2018. Overall, it’s the same as his regular curveball, just three ticks slower, averaging 67.6 mph on the radar gun.