Thursday, May 19, 2011

Quit D!cking Around!

What is wrong with R.A. Dickey? Is his knuckle not knuckling? Is his beard not mannishly awesome? He's certainly not the same guy he was last season. What could have happened to New York's journeyman golden boy? I mean... in the off season he was everyone's favorite Met.

2010 vs. 2011:
Statistically the biggest issues for Dickey are a ballooning in his H/9 and rise in his BB/9. It's not a secret that the biggest adversary to a knuckleballer is going to be control. However... his walks have only gone from 2.2 to 3.2 (BB/9). Walking a little over 3 guys every 9 innings is not terrible. The big culprit is that he's giving up 3 extra hits per outing, going from 8.5 to 11.2 (H/9).

Beyond that... there's also luck. Last season Dickey had a fairly normal .280 BABIP. In 2011 he's 53 points higher. Part of the reason for this is the Gods and part of the reason is that people are hitting him HARDER. Opp SLG has gone up significantly. A 100 point rise is bound to coincide with him being hit harder and contributes to an inflated BABIP (but this time it's HIS fault).

So... what do we do? Rub an ointment on it? Change up the facial hair? Sacrifice a chicken to Jobu? I'm not Dan Warthen or an expert on pitching but it seems to me that the problem is either control, pitch selection or that hitters made an adjustment. The first two... we can deal with. If it's the third one, Dickey is on his own to make adjustments.

In the end I know from Wakefield that knuckleballers make dynamic relievers. So... perhaps it's Dickey who will move to the pen and not Capuano or Gee.

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