The overlooked stars of the season
Updated: September 14, 2009, 11:54 AM ETBy Buster Olney
Zack Greinke is battling for the Cy Young Award, and that standing has hoisted him out of the second division and into the national conversation. Similarly, Mark Reynolds of the Diamondbacks has mashed so many monstrous home runs that he has managed to separate himself from the bounds of Arizona's lackluster season. Here are some other players who are having excellent seasons below the radar, for teams that have long since fallen out of contention:
Luke Gregerson, San Diego Padres. He is probably not among the front-runners for the National League Rookie of the Year award, but maybe he should be. Gregerson, who came to the Padres as part of the Khalil Greene trade with St. Louis, has been exceptional, striking out 78 in 65 1/3 innings, while surrendering a total of two homers; opposing hitters have a slugging percentage of .304 against him. Only one pitcher in the majors with 40 or more innings has posted a lower DIPS -- defense-independent ERA -- than Gregerson.
The other night on the "Baseball Tonight" set, they had the Padres-Rockies game on the monitor, and Gregerson threw a sinker that moved so much that a couple of us wondered if it was some kind of off-speed pitch. Nope: It was a 92 mph diving two-seamer.
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