Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/16/14
The biggest surprise about R.A. Dickey‘s 2012 season — Cy Young Award aside — was the drastic increase in strikeouts. Last year was Dickey’s seventh year featuring a knuckleball, but in the previous six seasons he’d never topped 5.88 K/9 (2009 with the Twins). It’s true that he now features what could rightly be termed a high-velocity knuckler (his average knuckleball velocity has increased every season), but does the 1.0 mph rise from 2011 explain that kind of spike in strikeout rate?It probably has more to do with the kind of knuckling action Dickey got. The knuckleball is an unpredictable pitch, even for the pitcher throwing it. While a knuckleball can pretty much move in any direction, the idea is to maximize that random movement. Brooksbaseball.net tracks the velocity and movement of every pitch thrown across the league, including  Dickey’s knuckler, and according to them Dickey’s average knuckleball moved more last year than in either 2010 or 2011. In 2010 it had an average ve...
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