Zack Greinke’s $6,400 Pitch Turned into a $6.5 Million Disaster

Zack Greinke has thrown 180 pitches as a Los Angeles Dodger, but it was his last one that cost the team the most.  After hitting San Diego Padre Carlos Quentin on the arm with a pitch, Quentin charged the mound, resulting in a broken collarbone for Greinke.  The Dodger pitcher, who makes $21 million in 2013, is expected to miss eight weeks, so the injury is particularly costly for the team.

According to data from Baseball-reference.com, Greinke has averaged 3275 pitches per year the past five years.  Thus, based on this history*, the Los Angeles Dodgers expected to pay about $6,400 per pitch.  Greinke’s $6,400 3-2 pitch to Quentin ended up costing the Dodgers $6,481,000 (50 games of the 162-game season).#  Carlos Quentin’s 8-game suspension and $3,000 fine don’t begin to equalize that damage.  Quentin’s 8-game suspension translates into $469,000 (plus the $3,000 fine) of his $9.5 million salary in 2013.

Player Stats

Notes

For the effect of the injury on win-above-replacement analysis, see here and here.  Analysis assumes no postseason games.  Other players are ignored, including Jerry Hairston.  Calculations involving the April 11 game missed are ignored.

* Greinke’s pitch average uses actual data and does not adjust for any games missed due to injuries or other reasons.   It does not adjust for any increased likelihood of injury or lower expected number of pitches due to a greater age.

# 50/162 * 21,000,000 = $6,481,481.

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