R.A. Dickey Lands In Atlanta, But Should We Pay Attention?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It may seem odd that the rebuilding Braves went out and added a seemingly mediocre veteran to their starting rotation, but that’s what happened when they gave R.A. Dickey a one-year, $8 million contract (with an option for 2018).  Of course the team clearly needed help in the rotation and we saw what the addition of a veteran at the Trade Deadline (Matt Kemp) did for the offense.  At the very least Dickey could act as a mentor/bridge to the future/innings eater, but is there any reason to believe that he could actually post a strong 2017 campaign?

By simply looking at his 2016 line you would think it nearly impossible:

169.2 IP
10 Wins
4.46 ERA
1.37 WHIP
126 Strikeouts (6.68 K/9)
63 Walks (3.34 BB/9)
42.1% Groundball Rate
.279 BABIP

The first number that jumps out at you is the relatively unimpressive strikeout rate.  There are a few obvious notes to make, though:

  1. The number was up from a pathetic 2015 (5.29 K/9)
  2. He was generating enough swings and misses (10.6%)
  3. He should benefit from the move to the NL, and no longer having to face the designated hitter

Obviously we wouldn’t expect him to return to his 2012 mark (8.86 K/9), but a slight increase back to the days of 2013 (7.09) and 2014 (7.22) is reasonable.  He posted SwStr% of 9.4% and 10.5%, respectively, in those seasons and the change is certainly going to benefit him.

While the control isn’t great, Dickey was still solid enough last season.  He owns a career 2.85 BB/9, and again the move to NL should help him improve at least a little bit.

His biggest problem was his home run rate, with a 1.49 HR/9.  While it remains to be seen how Atlanta’s new ballpark will play, you’d have to think getting out of Toronto and the AL East will help.  He was worse at home (1.62 HR/9) than on the road (1.33 HR/9) last season, which shouldn’t be a surprise, and he had shown better marks the previous two seasons (1.09 and 1.05).

We aren’t about to dub Dickey a must use option by any stretch, but there are reasons to believe that he could at least be a viable streaming option (with some deep sleeper appeal in NL-Only formats).  He’s not the Cy Young candidate he once was, but he does hold some potential.  Don’t write him off, but also don’t get too excited.

Source – Fangraphs 

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