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R.A. Dickey knuckling into Cy Young talk
The New York Mets right-hander has fanned opponents on his way to a 9-1 record and a 2.44 ERA. He's riding three straight scoreless outings (23 2/3 innings). A knuckleballer striking out 8.67 per nine is quite a feat; Tim Wakefield posted his best punchout years in 2001-2003 by sitting in the mid- to high 7.00s.
Dickey, whose walk frequency sits at 2.11, isn't getting by on called K's. His swinging-strike percentage has ballooned from 7.8 in 2011 to 11.9 this year. Granted, two of his dominant starts came against the San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates, but being the only pitcher in all of MLB to wield the weapon gives him a unique advantage that he doesn't seem likely to give up anytime soon.
Like the pitch's path, the 37-year-old's tumultuous life and career have taken a bobbing and weaving course. He has grown thanks to rap sessions with Wakefield, Charlie Hough and Phil Niekro, members of the pitch's fraternity. Dickey's version of the offering is harder than the common practice, and its velo has increased consistently over his tenure with it. This speed allows it to float longer in the strike zone and give him a better shot at sitting opponents down. The ground-ball results he's getting sustain confidence.
Dickey's value is at its 2012 apex. The success is real, considering it was similar in each of the past two years and the fact that there's evidence in favor of his dominance that could soften the blow of his normalization. But you have a right to consider it unsustainable at this level. It's a great time to sell, considering the random route of his pitch could soon push regression closer to the mean.
If he winds up with something around his ERA (3.28) or even his FIP (3.77) from 2011, that wouldn't hurt. Unfortunately, if you don't prepare to work around it - with him on the bench or another team - the corrective journey could do significant damage to your rate stats.
A tepid start to his MLB season led to a demotion. Luckily, at Class AAA Rochester, he hit .330 with six steals in 23 games.
Since his call-up, he's hitting .314 in 70 at-bats, with all six swipes on the season, 12 runs and a .429 slugging percentage, which reflects his body of minor league work.
Revere changed his hand placement after watching video of himself, and his more emphatic cuts are allowing him to pull the ball with more potency. In conjunction with his spray abilities, that's a boon to his BA.
He's earned consistent placement as the second hitter, sometimes leadoff; heck, even in Minnesota's slate, that bolsters fantasy value.
After opting out of his farm deal with the Cincinnati Reds, the southpaw returns to his first club.
The control specialist struck out 7.56 per nine at Triple-A Louisville while maintaining a 2.09 BB/9, along his normal lines.
He's a capable grounder inducer and has extensive experience taking the Coors Field rubber. However, the innings eater holds a 4.56 ERA in Denver, and his soft-tossing ways raise questions about his posted K/9.
Single-universe owners should be most interested here. Maybe if he shows capable strike-zone management, he'll graduate to matchup (read: road) employment.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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