He's got a knuckleball that floats like a butterfly, but stings like a bee.
He might be one of the most underrated pitchers of his kind in the game today, but the Boston Red Sox know how lucky they are—and how valuable Tim Wakefield really is.
Pitching his 17th season in the big leagues, Wakefield has already tied his mark from last year in wins (10) as the midseason break closes in.
The 42-year-old is the longest current member on the Sox, with 15 years of service as both a starter and reliever, but he has never been named to the All-Star team. In those 15 years, Wakefield has hit double-digits in wins 11 times (174 total), and established a career high of 17 in 1998.
In Boston, he's proudly won two World Series rings.
So far this season, Wakefield is 10-3 in 15 starts, with a 4.18 earned run average. He's pitched two complete games, struck out 50 batters, and allowed 44 runs in 94.67 innings.
He's closing in on another milestone—2,000 career strikeouts (currently 1,957), which he's predicted to hit on Sept. 8 against Baltimore, according to MLB's Milestone Tracker.
Isn't this guy deserving enough to be picked to the American League All-Star roster? Yes, he's "only" a knuckleball pitcher—that might be why he's never been voted in (or only because he doesn't throw a 99 MPH fastball).
The stereotypes of knuckleball pitchers really needs to be brushed off. Give the guy a break, and at least let him add an All-Star Game to his resume.
Wakefield isn't getting any younger, and who knows exactly when he'll ever retire, but retire with some "pop" still left in the tank.
Follow Batter-up with Bruno here.