Sunday, May 15, 2011

Is Dickey's issue familiarity

Photo by Michael Baron
Most of R.A Dickey's success last year was attributed to him mastering the knuckleball but what if his success was a result of hitters being unfamiliar with his style.

Whether he was a fastball pitcher or a knuckleballer until last year R.A. Dickey spent his entire career in the American League.  Whatever the reason for his success Dickey had an excellent season in 2010; making 26 starts with a 2.84 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and a 2.48 SO/BB ratio. 

Dickey is having a dreadful season, so far in seven starts he has a 4.50 ERA with a 1.53 WHIP, both of which are almost exactly what his career averages are on both categories. 

Also more consistent with his career average is his SO/BB ratio of 1.44, now; has he lost his command or have batters learned what to not chase and are not helping him out of at bats. 

In addition to what appears to be batters being more selective is how much better hitters are doing with the more looks they get. Here are Dickey's numbers as he faces batters from one time through four times, by their 3-4 at bats in a game they are beating him up pretty bad...

BA .267/.269/.320/.429 
Slg. .317/.288/.469/1.143
OPS .670/.622/.858/1.610