Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball POV style


R.A. Dickey's knuckleball illustrated as best as I've seen it. Photo via wiki/flickr user dbking

From Dirk Hayhurst‘s blog (whose books you should absolutely order; they’re good reading), here’s a 1:35 minute video of R.A. Dickey‘s knuckleball being shot from directly over the shoulder of his bullpen catcher.

Serious question; how do you possibly hit this?  He throws it in excess of 80mph and it moves this violently?  Amazing.  Its no wonder he won the Cy Young last year, and I can’t see him being appreciably different in 2013.

Written by Todd Boss

March 4th, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Posted in Majors Pitching

Tagged with ,

2 Responses to 'R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball POV style'

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  1. This was fascinating, thanks for posting. To my untrained eye, this is what I saw watching this:

    Pitches 1 and 2 seemed basically unhittable. I can’t imagine even good major league hitters consistently squaring up pitches with that much late movement. It was basically like wiffle ball. And they both looked like strikes, so laying off of them wouldn’t help you.

    Pitch 3, by contrast, didn’t seem very good. It basically just hung there. I could see most major league hitters who were looking for that pitch doing some damage to that one. But the problem is there isn’t any way I can see to tell the difference between the one that’s going to dive and the one that’s going to hang until it was too late to do anything about it.

    This also seems to sum up why it’s so hard to be successful as a knuckleballer: if you throw more Pitch 3s than 1s or 2s, guys can just assume they’re going to hang and swing for the fences. Occasionally you’ll make them look silly, but if you don’t get the movement almost every time, then it’s not going to work.


    4 Mar 13 at 10:13 pm

  2. The thing that distinguishes Dickey from (say) Tim Wakefield is the pace at which he throws. You can’t throw the knuckler 100% of the time; if you miss a few times in a row you have to throw a “fastball” to get back into the count. Wakefield’s undoing usually was when someone teed off on his mid 70mph fastball. Dickey can at least get it into the mid 80s when he does throw a fastball (2012; max 86mph avg 83).

    The one thing I couldn’t tell from the video is whether or not he was throwing 100% knuckleballs that entire time.

    Todd Boss

    5 Mar 13 at 8:47 am

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