R.A. Dickey is RAD

I was a little late to the R.A. Dickey party, but it’s better to be late than never here. Dickey may be a knuckle baller, but this is not some Tim Wakefield reincarnation. His 6.38 K/9 is slightly below average (7.01 K/9), but Dickey makes up for it with a good walk rate (2.50 BB/9), he doesn’t allow batters to make a lot of solid contact and he induces a lot of ground balls. His 1.94 GB/FB ratio is the ninth highest in the league. Dickey’s knuckleball is pretty fast for knuckleball standards. It has been climbing in speed as he refined the pitch during the past five seasons. It’s up to 76.2 MPH now, which is 10 mph faster than Wakefield’s. You can tell he is gaining confidence in the pitch because he has increased it’s usage each year. He throws that sucker 82 percent of the time now and it’s valued at 4.2 runs above average. Because he uses the knucklball almost exclusively and the pitch is much improved, I believe it is safe to ignore the knuckle baller stigma and join the R.A. Dickey bandwagon. His fastball has improved in value also… so he’s got that going for him. Oh yeah, he doesn’t have an ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm. Apparently he was born without one and the Tommy John operation for someone without one has never been done, so they left it alone. Just throwing that out there.

more MLB notes after the jump…

Chris Davis may be hitting .138 (4 for 29) since being called up, but his strikeout percentage is down significantly. His 13.8 percent K% is 20 percent below his career average. It is a very small sample size, but I just wanted to point out that it hasn’t been that bad since the call up. His 19.2 percent Line Drive percentage is solid, but his .154 BABIP has eliminated all hope for a respectable Batting Average. He has been unlucky thus far and if you missed out on him in a league, now would be a good time to see if you can Buy Low (very low?) on him.

Kevin Gregg had his second shaky outing in a row. He was bailed out by Shawn Camp (no relation to Shawn Kemp) last Saturday and he blew his fourth Save of the season last night. He kept the walks allowed under three last night so there was some improvement, but his WHIP is now 1.47 and his BB/9 has jumped up to a career high 5.40. There have been rumors of him being traded, so whether Gregg loses the closer’s role via suckage or trade, now is a good time to speculate on who would get the Saves. I’ve rostered Scott Downs for quite some time now. He has the best numbers in the bullpen, is effective against both lefties and righties, was handed the job before anyone else when B.J. Ryan went down last year and seems to be more trusted right now in the eighth inning role. He’s my pick.

Andrés Torres could possibly post a 15 HR, 30 SB season. He isn’t hitting LHP well this year, but he has in the past. Torres has only played in 243 major league games and logged 783 at bats, but he is already 32 years old. He is no spring chicken. His minor league track record suggests a 15/30 season is not out of his reach and his peripherals do not suggest that anything he has done can be considered “lucky”. I paid $25 in FAAB (my entire bank roll) for him in the Blog Wars league on July 6th and I feel like I’ve been blessed from above. Surprisingly he is owned in only 22 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

I was a little disturbed after reading the following player note from Yahoo! Sports along side my home boy Jeff Keppinger:

“Jeff Keppinger was moved from the No. 2 spot to the No. 6 spot in the order, and he went 1-for-3, walked three times and scored three runs. “We haven’t been able to utilize what (Keppinger’s) been for us. His on-base percentage is huge, and you want that from your No. 2 guy, but we’re not able to score him,” manager Brad Mills said before the game. “I’m hoping that we’ll be able to use his bat to maybe drive in some runs hitting sixth.”

Is anyone selling on Rickie Weeks? He has only reached 100 games played twice, with his career high for games played being 129. He just cannot stay healthy enough to play a full season. He is already up to 92 games this season and he is tearing it up. This is ideally the perfect situation that anyone who drafted Rickie could hope for. This is what we drew up on the chalkboard to convince ourselves to draft him. The problem is, Rickie already has 18 HR and is ranked 30th overall in the Yahoo! game. I have him in three leagues and I don’t want to let go. I did offer a Ubaldo/Rickie for Hanson/Kinsler/I.Stewart trade in one league, but it was rejected and that is as far as I’ve gone in trying to deal Rickie. I want to be apart of Rickie’s first ever healthy season!

How about the Gordon Beckham story? He is a raging bull in the month of July with his 21.6% Line Drive percentage and his .457 BABIP. He now has his Batting Average up to .241, the highest it’s been since April 17th. He is working with an eight game hit streak with multiple hit games in five of his last six. His ownership level is now back up to 50%. I was a little surprised how many people stuck by his side; I don’t think he dipped below 30% despite hitting below the Mendoza line.