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Best Rookie 

Zack Greinke

Major League Baseball teams nowadays draft fewer pitchers straight out of high school. Pitching is such a fragile art, the thinking goes, that it's wise to let the colleges separate the healthy from the injured, the flaky from the dedicated. Every once in a while, however, a pitcher comes out of high school with an almost complete understanding of himself and his trade. The Royals found such a treasure when the team selected Zack Greinke in the first round of the 2002 draft. The right-handed Floridian made his big-league debut in 2004, and his ability to change speeds and pinpoint locations earned comparisons with Greg Maddux, who won his 300th game this season. In the course of limiting the Detroit Tigers to three hits in seven innings during one game in September, Greinke threw a curveball that clocked in at a cartoonlike 50 miles per hour. (He also can move the ball toward home plate in excess of 90 mph.) Greinke's mastery was such that he admitted afterward to reporters that it was hard to keep from laughing on the mound. He's as near to being a sure thing as a 20-year-old pitcher can be.

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