Zack Greinke isn't your typical pitcher in terms of the massive levels of success he's achieved and in terms of the wild arsenal of pitches he possesses.
But he's also not your typical pitcher in regard to his mental game. For one, he displays some unique tactics on the mound in order to get into opposing batters' heads, such as when he gives signs to the hitter in a manner that's as clear as day... which hasn't always worked.
Another unique mental approach he takes, though, goes deeper than a singular in-game moment. It's a long-term view for Greinke, and it almost certainly differs than what we'd expect from an arguably Hall of Fame-caliber pitcher, or from any pitcher for that matter.
In a Zoom interview on Monday, Greinke shared which career milestones are on his radar, and whereas wins, strikeouts and World Series rings might be the goals most pitchers wish to achieve, the Astros' six-time All-Star has other statistics on his mind.
"The only milestone I pay attention to is I wanted to get 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases, and then I got traded to the American League and made it way harder for that to happen," Greinke said (via Matt Young of Chron.com/Houston Chronicle). "I got caught stealing for the first time ever when I was in Houston because I wanted to steal so bad because I knew it might be my last chance to get 10 stolen bases and I got caught because I wanted it too much.
"That's my only goal I guess — 10 home runs, 10 stolen bases — and it's going to be really hard for me to do now."
Greinke referenced this goal after the game in which he was caught stealing, again saying that it was likely his last chance to reach double-digit steals. However, for a pitcher, he's done pretty well for himself in that area regardless of what his total turns out to be. The below tweet is obviously dated, but you get the idea.
As far as hitting goes, Greinke has a career slash line of .225/.263/.337 in 598 plate appearances, with 9 home runs and 9 steals at this time. Only 12 other pitchers in MLB history (at least 90 percent of games played at pitcher) have accomplished this and, as you'll see below, their era of play was just a tad different than Greinke's (via Stathead). Bob Gibson and Walter Johnson both reached double-digit home runs and steals, though they only appear if you knock down the 90 percent to 80 percent.
At 37 years old, Greinke has one year remaining on his deal with the Astros, so he could go back to the National League before his career is over if he so chooses to continue his long MLB journey elsewhere. But until a chance to hit arises, which was not the case in 2020 due to the universal DH, he'll be stuck one short of his HR and SB goals.
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