If you saw the 2010 movie, Hot Tub Time Machine you are likely familiar with the term "The Great White Buffalo". Essentially what John Cucask is referring to in the movie is a former girlfriend who got away. After they broke up, Cusack's character realized there would never be another like her and referred to her as "The Great White Buffalo".
I think of Zack Greinke in much the same way. I know I shouldn't care how a player that forced his way out of Kansas City is doing, but I can't help it. Greinke is my baseball version of The Great White Buffalo. Granted I don't check out his pitching stats after every start, but I knew he was picking up quite a few wins while having a rather pedestrian ERA.
Over his seven years with the Royals, fans rode the ups and downs of Greinke's pitching and his personality. For a player that didn't even post a .500 record overall with the Royals, I will always remember that summer of 2009 in which Greinke went 16-8 and posted a 2.16 ERA en route to a Cy Young Award. It's the type of season I will eventually tell stories about to my eventual children and grandchildren when I look back at the history of the Royals organization.
Thus far, Greinke has a 12-4 record in his first season with the Brewers and is now sporting a 3.92 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP in 20 starts. He really has turned it on in the month of August in which he is 4-0 with a 1.95 ERA, however the most ironic split statistic in his season is how well he is doing in home games at Miller Park. At home this year Greinke is 9-0 with a 3.15 ERA
These numbers aren't far removed from Greinke's career stats as he is 17 games over .500 while pitching at either Kauffman Stadium or Miller Park, but is 16 games under .500 in road games.
However I am still happy with the trade made during the winter as the Royals turned over a new leaf and moved in another direction as they try to establish a ballclub that will become long-term winners. While Greinke has posted a 2.9 WAR during the 2011 season, Alcides Escobar has posted a 1.7 WAR himself for the Royals, while Yuinesky Betancourt has been worth just 0.1 WAR points to the Brewers.
Improved defense coupled with Jacob Odorrizi's 9-6 record and 3,57 ERA this season between Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas has me more than excited about the return. Lorenzo Cain seems to be in purgatory right now with Omaha, blocked by the outfield of Kansas City, but he has been a key component of Omaha's great season so far. Meanwhile Jeremy Jeffress has been disappointing thus far, but the fact remains he still can hit triple digits and if he can work his way through control problems he will still be on the fast track to being a part of the Kansas City club.