New York Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey has had a memorable 2012 on and off the field.
Dickey's year started with the release of his book, setting up his remarkable back-story and has transitioned to on-field production that may make his story even more special.
The 37-year-old journeyman knuckleballer has positioned himself to be the 2012 National League Cy Young award winner after his complete game win over the Miami Marlins last Thursday. Dickey now has four complete games this season, which is tops in the National League and is also tied for the major league lead in wins with 15.
Dickey was the biggest and best story in baseball earlier this season after displaying pure dominance in May and June. It carried over into his first career All-Star game and the story continued.
After everything was seemingly going so well for Dickey and the Mets, everything fell apart. The Mets quickly vanished from playoff contention after a horrid July and Dickey came back down from his cloud.
The page looked like it was turned, but like any fierce competitor, Dickey has fought back and regained form. His most recent performance against the Marlins proved that.
"It's been incredible to watch him all year long," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "The command, the movement, the swings that have been taken—he lost it for a week, two starts maybe, and now it's back." (h/t The Wall Street Journal)
There are a lot of worthy candidates for National League Cy Young this season, but R.A. Dickey may be the most well-rounded of the bunch.
Along with the wins and the complete games, he has 166 strikeouts, which is tied for the NL lead with Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who is also a candidate. Strasburg's impending season shutdown gives Dickey an edge.
His WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) is also tops in the NL at 1.00. His ERA is at 2.72 putting him fourth among contenders and has a WAR (wins above replacement) at 3.7, which puts him third in the NL.
All those stats would be a remarkable feat for any pitcher, but factor in that Dickey is a primary knuckleball pitcher and it truly puts into perspective how dominant he has been in 2012.
Another factor that could push Dickey over the top rests upon the decision of his manager, Terry Collins. He has stated that he would not be reluctant to put Dickey out on the mound on short rest if it will help him reach the 20-win plateau.
"Will I? I certainly might, yes," Collins said.
"I think he deserves it. I think he deserves that shot. I think Jose Reyes deserved to win a batting title last year too. I got criticized for that, and I may get criticized for this." (h/t The Wall Street Journal)
Of all the great pitchers the New York Mets have had in the their history, no one has had a season quite like this. Dickey is on pace to the first Mets 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990. (h/t ESPNNewYork.com)
The last Mets pitcher to win the Cy Young was Dwight Gooden in 1985, and while Dickey is not focused on winning the award and ending that streak, it certainly seems set up for him.
If R.A. Dickey continues this Cinderella story, the Cy Young slipper looks like a pretty perfect fit.