At this time last year we were left wondering if R.A. Dickey could replicate his 2010 success and entrench himself as a viable fantasy option. One year later, we have gotten our answer:
134 Strikeouts (5.78 K/9)
54 Walks (2.33 BB/9)
It was impossible to draw conclusions off just his 2010 year, given the lack of a history we had on Dickey. While he’s been around for a long-time, he only recently re-established himself, now as a knuckleball pitcher.
However, given the 2011 numbers above, there are a few conclusions we can reach:
Dickey offers great control for a knuckleball pitcher, helping him become a source of WHIP
It’s hard to believe, but Dickey actually has proven to be a good source of WHIP for fantasy owners. He has now posted BB/9 of 2.17 and 2.33 over the past few seasons. That definitely gives him an advantage to posting good numbers, especially considering his realistic BABIP over the past two years (.276 & .278). At this point, there’s no reason to think that this is going to change any time soon.
Dickey is not going to be a source of strikeouts
If he was, he would be an even better source of WHIP. Unfortunately, we need to keep expectations in check. While the knuckleball can be a tough pitch to hit, he has a tough time generating swings and misses. This is the second straight year he’s been under 6.0 K/9 (he was at 5.37 in ’10).
Over the past two seasons he has struck out at least 9 batters twice (both in 2011).
Over that same span, he’s struck out 4 batters or less in a start 41 times.
Clearly, fantasy owners need to realize what they are going to get, and this is a definite strike against his potential value.
Dickey is a tough bet for wins
Pitching for the Mets, this is unfortunately going to be a constant trend and it hurt him badly in 2011. Despite a solid ERA and WHIP, he just couldn’t get many victories. Unless they strengthen their bullpen (and their offense), he’s doomed for a similar fate in 2012.
It’s great that he’s emerged as a viable option, but let’s be realistic. He’s a backend spot starter, and nothing more.