Zack Greinke’s batting credentials

Chip Hale said this week that he would like to bat Zack Greinke eighth in the lineup on days he starts.

While the overall strategy of batting your pitcher eighth is a questionable one to say the least, it’s hard to argue against Greinke’s hitting abilities. He has a lifetime slash line of .220/.261/.337 with six home runs and 14 RBI in 341 plate appearances.

He has had at least one home run in four out of the last five seasons, including two last year, making him one of the game’s most prolific power-hitting pitchers. The only active pitchers with more home runs than Greinke are Yovani Gallardo, Madison Bumgarner and Travis Wood. Greinke could be even higher on this list had he played most of his career in the National League.

Greinke’s best season at the plate came in his first with the Dodgers in 2013. That year he batted a whopping .328/.409/.379 with an OPS+ of 125,  four RBI and two steals in 72 plate appearances. Those stats aren’t just “good for a pitcher”– they’re actuall really amazing– and won him the Silver Slugger that year. Last year he wasn’t quite as good with a .224/.232/.343 slash, but he did hit two home runs. Greinke’s average was higher thanTuffy Gosewich’s was last year, was just two points lower than Nick Ahmeds and three worse than Chris Owings. The boy can hit, and should hit out of the No. 8 hole this season. He has the potential to be the next Micah Owings– only with Cy Young-caliber pitching.