R.A. Dickey, knuckleballer extraordinaire, has been announced to take over the fifth spot in the rotation for the Minnesota Twins, replacing the injured Scott Baker.
I'm all for giving guys a chance, but it seems like the Seattle Mariners tried the same thing with this guy last year, with rather bleak results—a 5.21 ERA—but was found to be rather serviceable from the bullpen.
With a plethora of young arms waiting for a chance at AAA like Kevin Mulvey and Anthony Swarzak, my question is why pull this now when we have the opportunity to see what these young kids can do while the team is not in the midst of a playoff hunt?
The following are Twins who can make an impact this season:
The guy can chuck, that’s been known, but relies swiftly on the least used and hardest pitch to nail down—the knuckleball. The intrigue itself in the Metrodome is enough to get me hyped, but as a starter makes me weary.
A problem with many knucklers like Tim Wakefield and Ron Starr is that they cruise through the first few innings, but can get destroyed through the second and third time through the lineup, as hitters adapt to the relatively unpredictable pitch.
The other fear is that when the knuckler isn't working that day, what can he rely on? A common problem for pitchers is that some days they don't have a knack for one pitch, and in some cases it can be a pitcher’s fastball.
Now if that knuckler goes out, this guy could be doomed.
Now imagine this. After having a solid six innings from one of the starters, what a ridiculous curveball to throw in this guy to totally upset the tempo hitters are banking on. To me, this seems like Dickey's ultimate role in the majors and I feel he could be damn good at it.
Kevin is my personal choice for the fifth starter job and a poor man's Nick Blackburn. The guy has no flash, but means serious business. After watching him firsthand last year when he was in Rochester, the guy isn't afraid to crash the strike zone with his otherwise balanced, mediocre four-pitch arsenal.
In the end, I see him one day being an average third or very solid back-end starter who will routinely put up around a 4.00 ERA, and become a very serviceable guy once the Twins can't afford the young rotation.
He will probably come up as an initial lefty reliever, but has been bred as a starter from the get-go. He doesn't possess anything too special, but has a kind of funny delivery, which compensates for the lack of speed on his pitches. Could be serviceable as a starter in the end, ut could be an even better reliever.
The Twins 2009 Rule V selection from the New York Yankees is in the same mold as Mulvey, but slightly behind him in his progression. He will solidify the AAA rotation and could be an efficient player in the long run.
He could be a really fun kid to watch seeing as he's been a mentioned prospect for years whether it be positive or not, but isn't mentally ready for the Bigs. However, I expect him to be on the Big League team sometime this year.
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