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« Nine to Know: Congratulations to David Price, AL Cy Young Award winner | Main | Harper, Trout Polar Opposites on the First Pitch »

R.A. Dickey wins the NL CYA 

R.A. Dickey handily won the National League Cy Young Award in a victory that is great for him personally, really good for baseball, and provides a tip of the hat to the sportswriters who voted for him.

Dickey is one of the really good guys in the sport who has overcome a lot personally and professionally and had arguably the greatest season of any pure knuckleballer (Dickey said, he had spoken to or gotten text messages from knuckleheads Phil NiekroTim Wakefield and Charlie Hough. “This is a victory for all of us,” Dickey said.)

I can't help but be struck by the vast difference between Dickey and AL CYA winner David Price. While they are both from Tennessee and both are represented by Bo McKinnis,  Price averaged 91.2 m.p.h. per pitch while Dickey's pitches averaged 77.8. Price's fastest fastball was 99.6 m.p.h. while Dickey's was 86.1, two mph slower than Price's changeup.

In trying to find a visual example to display the differences between Price and Dickey, I opted to show pitches that batters swung and missed.

Here's Price's swings and misses

Batters swung at 1467 pitches and missed 309You can see the variance and the typical successful diagonal.

Here's Dickey's swings and misses

Batters swung at 1693 pitches and missed 443You can see batters  thinking about the knuckball mantra: If it's low, let it go, if it's high, let it fly."

As for the voters, on a conference call, Dickey credited voters for respecting the manner in which he dominated by saying,

“They didn’t see the knuckleball as a trick pitch; they didn’t see it as some kind of illegitimate weapon that isn’t worthy,” Dickey said. “They saw it as a legitimate weapon that has one purpose, and that’s to get big-league hitters out consistently. And they respected that. They had the imagination to see beyond some of, maybe, the old-school mentalities of what the knuckleball used to look like.”

While there are many stats that might reflect Dickey's history, I find the most telling to be his transaction history:

Congratulations to R.A. Dickey.


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