Posted by simon c on 2008 March 19日 Wednesday
Many baseball fans tend to have a soft spot for knuckleballers, and I’m no different.
It looks like R.A. Dickey will make the Mariners opening day roster with his successful spring training and AAA season. Let’s hope he makes the roster, knucklers are always fun to watch. EWC article and amusing video here.
NPB had a knuckler last year with Jared Fernandez of the Hiroshima Carp. Unfortunately for him, the Carp, and all knuckleball fans, his stint in Japan was unsuccessful. His numbers were worse across the board (ERA, H/9, HR/9, K/9, BB/9) than during his minor league career. They were even worse than his MLB numbers, except for BB/9. Though small sample caviat obviously applies here, I wonder what the cause for his lack of success here. Then again some people can throw better knucklers than others, so maybe Japanese batters were better able to hit his not-so-good knuckleballs. As pitching in Japan is less about power and more about deception, so the batters might be better at hitting slower pitches, perhaps. Or it could just be that he didn’t adapt well to NPB, that happens to many imports every year.