March 24, 2015

The Hidden Value of a Knuckleballer:

"Relievers behind Wright have surrendered an insane two home runs in 107 2/3 innings. That's one-fifth what we'd expect based on their typical performance. If Wright were to make 30 starts in a season, that would translate to roughly an extra win for his team. Starters were about a half-run better in ERA and a run better in FIP when the other team had been thrown off by Wright's knuckleball. Add it up, and Wright could be worth in the range of two wins simply by taking the ball, let alone what he could provide by pitching well."

posted by yerfatma to baseball at 10:03 AM - 3 comments

I hope there's always a knuckleballer in the major leagues. R.A. Dickey gave the knucklers and their fans a lot of hope as Tim Wakefield aged. Fingers crossed Wright makes the team.

posted by werty at 11:42 AM on March 24, 2015

I remember when knuckleball pitchers were not an occasional oddity, but more or less standard fare. In the late 60's and 1970's there were pitchers that were farther removed from the ordinary than a knuckleballer. There were submariners like Kent Tekulve -- and Steve Hamilton and Lindy McDaniel were still throwing the folly floater/blooper/eephus pitch (and throwing it for strikes and outs). More guys doctoring the ball too, so it seemed.

posted by beaverboard at 08:34 PM on March 24, 2015

I have heard this idea before, and there seems to be merit in it. The reverse might be true as well. When Boston used Tim Wakefield as a closer, coming in behind a pitcher with a "conventional" fast ball, batters seemed to have a great deal of difficulty slowing themselves down to the knuckleball. The same phenomenon applies to a driver who, after 2 hours of 70 mph interstate driving, slows to 50 on an off ramp. It seems like you are crawling.

posted by Howard_T at 03:20 PM on March 25, 2015

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