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View Full Version : Should the Reds take a chance on a knuckleballer?



jmcclain19
04-24-2006, 03:58 PM
The Rangers today DFA'd RA Dickey

http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/transactions/index.jsp

Dickey supposedly spent the offseason working with Charlie Huff on the nuances of throwing the knuckler. But he got shellacked in his one MLB appearance and didn't fare much better at AAA.

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/external/brandedstats/t998.html?cid=238&lid=112&t=t_ibp&sid=milb

Given what we know about Great American Ballpark - and as the knuckler takes years of practice, according to those who've thrown it in the past - Dickey just picked up the pitch last fall. Is it feasible to take a flier on a knuckleballer like Dickey and expect consistent results?

Maybe it's a question indepentdent of Dickey himself - but simply the idea of could a knuckleballer have any success as a Red with GABP as his home turf? Something a friend and I have been tossing back and forth, given Knucklers tendencies to be flyball pitchers and GABP tendency to swallow whole mediocre flyball pitchers.

RedsManRick
04-24-2006, 04:20 PM
Jason LaRue's attempts to catch Jared Fernandez say 'hi'...

smith288
04-24-2006, 04:51 PM
We already have one, but Dave Williams puts too much rotation in his pitches.

Puffy
04-24-2006, 04:55 PM
The Reds should definitely pick up Dickey. Put him in the bullpen and then pick up Keith Foulke from Boston.

Then we could cheer "Our Dickey comes first, then we'll Foulke you!"

Gallen5862
04-24-2006, 05:11 PM
It might be worth a waiver claim. We do have three Catchers that could take turns catching him.

GridironGrace
04-24-2006, 05:14 PM
AT this point......i dont see any RP that is MLB ready in the least "hurting" us lol

wheels
04-24-2006, 05:47 PM
Man....I was thinking about this the other day.

A knuckler can bouce between the pen and the rotation. An innings eating swingman is something any pitching staff could use.

There seems to be an odd predjudice against them.

.......Jared Fernandez is available again.

Caveat Emperor
04-24-2006, 05:57 PM
There seems to be an odd predjudice against them.

Being mostly that even the best knuckleballer can't always guarantee where the knuckler is going. They're usually 1 pitch pitchers who have nothing else to fall back on if the ball doesn't happen to be "dancing" as much as it needs to fool hitters.

cincyinco
04-24-2006, 06:49 PM
Has there ever been a knuckler who could actually throw some heat? And the knuckler was just a good secondary pitch?

Rojo
04-24-2006, 07:58 PM
A knuckler can bouce between the pen and the rotation. An innings eating swingman is something any pitching staff could use.

There seems to be an odd predjudice against them.

.......Jared Fernandez is available again.

My thoughts exactly. And there's always persisent humidity factor to help make the case.

jmcclain19
04-24-2006, 10:13 PM
Has there ever been a knuckler who could actually throw some heat? And the knuckler was just a good secondary pitch?
The general consensous between the long time knuckle throwers, the Niekros, the Wilhelms, the Hough's of the world, is that you need to throw the pitch as your single, primary weapon, IE all the time, or just once in a while to keep hitters off balance. But no where in between. The rationale being that it takes tons and tons of innings logged throwing it to master, and even then you still don't quite know what it's going to do.

One of the more amazing things I learned when catching, was that before I learned from a former minor leaguer who was an asst coach how to throw it, I always thought the knuckler was thrown with, what else, the knuckles. In reality, you throw it with the exact motion and arm angle you would a four seam fastball - and you need to be topping out at 70-80mph to make it effective. Your 'knuckles' or fingernails do nothing but remove the potential spin on the ball as you release it.

Because of that, the guys who throw knucklers are using it as a fallback after not succeeding otherwise, typically players like Dickey, people who want to stay in the game and want to figure out a way to do it, because mediocre mid 80's rightys come a dime a dozen in baseball.

cincyinco
04-25-2006, 03:19 PM
Thanks for the above info! I used to catch a ton in my years, but never learned anythin about the knuckler..

Speakin of though.. The White Sox have a Knuckler by the name of Charlie Haeger in their AAA rotation.. he's been lights out this year.. And there would seemingly be no place in the rotation for him, seeing as how the sox are loaded..

check out these stats so far:
http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/milb/stats/stats.jsp?n=Charlie%20Haeger&pos=P&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=446624

Ravenlord
04-25-2006, 05:02 PM
you just beat me to Haeger, cincyinco. he has a 3.76 ERA in 297 IP with 313 hits, 132 walks, 180 strikeouts, and 12 homeruns between Rookie Ball and AA. so far this year he has an 0.64 ERA in 28 IP with 0 homers and 1.00 WHIP.

i'd actually like to take a flyer on Dickey before Fernandez due to age and K rates.

but it's mostly pointless, if the Reds are already down on Guevara because he relies on a 'trick,' they're most certainly not going to pursue a guy who not only relies on a 'trick,' but a 'trick' that's hard to catch.

Spitball
04-26-2006, 06:59 AM
The general consensous between the long time knuckle throwers, the Niekros, the Wilhelms, the Hough's of the world, is that you need to throw the pitch as your single, primary weapon, IE all the time, or just once in a while to keep hitters off balance.

The Magical 300th Win
Niekro notched his 300th win with the Yankees, on the final day of the 1985 season. He hurled an 8-0 shutout over the Blue Jays, becoming the oldest pitcher (at 46) to throw a complete game shutout. He was also the first man to win his 300th game in a New York Yankees' uniform. Niekro relied on his fastball (somewhere in the mid-80s), curve and slider until the final batter, when he finally threw a knuckleball.

I'd love to see a knuckleballer in the Scott Sullivan role. I'm not sure Dickey is it, though.

REDREAD
04-26-2006, 04:00 PM
Has there ever been a knuckler who could actually throw some heat? And the knuckler was just a good secondary pitch?

I think both the Neikros had decent fastballs. I don't know if you'd call them "heat", but IIRC, they were legitimate ML fastballs.

Wakefield probably has an ok one too.

It's really difficult to be a starting ML pitcher if you don't have at least an ok fastball.

Again, I'm not saying any of these guys are exactly flamethrowers.

M2
04-26-2006, 04:27 PM
Does Dickey qualify as a knuckleballer? I was under the impression he rarely throws the pitch.

Anyway, I'd sign Fernandez in a heartbeat. Knuckleballers are almost always better once the heat and humidity rise. And does anyone know if the White Sox would be interested in the veteran presence of guys like Tony Womack or Quentin McCracken?

jmcclain19
04-26-2006, 04:32 PM
Does Dickey qualify as a knuckleballer? I was under the impression he rarely throws the pitch.

Anyway, I'd sign Fernandez in a heartbeat. Knuckleballers are almost always better once the heat and humidity rise. And does anyone know if the White Sox would be interested in the veteran presence of guys like Tony Womack or Quentin McCracken?

Fox did a feature on him during ST where he said he was shifting and from now on he would be an exclusive knuckleball pitcher. He worked quite a bit, supposedly, with Charlie Hough in the off season getting some of the nuances down.

wheels
04-27-2006, 10:02 PM
I'm telling you, I'd love to see a knuckleballer on this staff.

Even if he's just used in the long relief/spot starter role.

They're great for double headers, and games with an exhausted pen.

Of course there's the small detail that today's catchers are afraid to catch them.........Deal with that later.

KronoRed
04-27-2006, 11:27 PM
With 12 guys why not have a knuckle guy?

How bout the knuckle closer?

Red Heeler
04-28-2006, 12:01 AM
I'm telling you, I'd love to see a knuckleballer on this staff.

Even if he's just used in the long relief/spot starter role.

They're great for double headers, and games with an exhausted pen.

Of course there's the small detail that today's catchers are afraid to catch them.........Deal with that later.

Jared Fernandez should sue Jason Larue for damages to his career. Fernandez pitched reasonably well for the Reds until that debacle of a game where Larue couldn't catch his knuckler to save his life. Fernandez never pitched for the Reds again.

I like Larue and feel that his defensive shortcomings are overblown. However, his stabbing style of catching just won't work with a butterfly ball.

jmcclain19
04-28-2006, 02:22 AM
RA Dickey by the way, wasn't claimed on waivers and is now again with AAA Oklahoma for the Rangers

http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/sports/14440987.htm