Computers vs. Scout: Zack Greinke

For more than a decade, fans, media members and team executives have been divided about how best to analyze a baseball player’s talents. Do the numbers tell the tale or are physical tools better predictors of future success?

Whom to trust, a computer or a scout? By now, every team in the major leagues blends both approaches. So, we thought we’d try to give a fuller picture of what to expect from some of the Dodgers’ key players this season by surveying a veteran scout who covers the Dodgers regularly, and then assembling two of the better known computer projection systems, ZiPS and Bill James.

Today: Zack Greinke. Next: Adrian Gonzalez.

ZiPS: 3.10 ERA, 203 1/3 innings, 198 strikeouts.

James: 15-10, 3.45 ERA, 222 innings, 209 strikeouts.

Scout: 18-8, 2.95 ERA, 210 innings, 196 strikeouts.

Scout’s take:

I really think he’s going to have a good year in that ballpark and in the National League. Between San Francisco, Petco and L.A., the ball is going to stay in the yard and he’ll get 30 free innings a year just from facing the pitcher three times a game. He’ll compete against [Clayton] Kershaw every day. Those guys could raise each other to really, really good heights. Those guys going back-to-back are going to put some hitters in two-day slumps, I’ll tell you that.

He’s extremely cerebral and you can see his thinking ability when he pitches. I saw the game he struck out 15 or 16 guys in all different ways. His big thing is sometimes he’s just bored and he tries to trick guys. He’s that good. He really is. His fastball is 88 to 98 mph, his curveball is 58 to 78. Try to write a report on him. You don’t know what to call all of his pitches. He can confuse you, overwhelm you with stuff or just confound you with as many things as he can do.

Consensus: Borderline All-Star season.