In years past we have seen guys like Matt Cain who just can't seem to buy a run from their offence when they are on the hill. Zack Greinke has taken that to a new level so far this season. Through six starts and 39.2 innings he has posted a 2.27 ERA. His peripherals aren't as good; his K/9 is down to 7.49, leading to a 3.56 FIP, but the fact of the matter is you would expect a pretty good record for a guy who has only conceded thirteen run through six starts. Then again, the Royals are 4th from the bottom in runs scored in the American League, and the bullpen hasn't been much help either. While the Royals have managed sixteen runs in his six games, the bullpen has conceded an astonishing twenty runs after Greinke leaves the game. This has lead to an 0-3 record for the 2009 Cy Young Winner.
Now I'm not telling you anything new, so I want to pose an interesting question. Sabermetricians have long disputed the validity of W-L record when discussing the value of a starting pitcher, but it still carries weight among Cy Young voters. My question is: Is Greinke a legitimate Cy Young candidate if this trend continues throughout the year? Obviously he won't go winless the remainder of the year, but in my opinion a 2.27 ERA is Cy Young material. Let's say he posts a 2.27 ERA and 200+ K's, but only wins ten games. Voters have shown they are willing to overlook win totals, as evidence by Tim Lincecum's 15-win Cy Young campaign, but what is the cut-off? Can a guy who barely reaches double digits in the win column even crack the top three in voting? In my eyes, yes he can, but I am also from a different generation than the majority of voters. This all may be moot, as the Royals could bounce back to win Greinke 15 games, but it is an interesting topic for early in the season.