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What to Expect from R.A. Dickey

With R.A. Dickey making his Toronto Blue Jays debut tonight, many fans are wondering what they should expect from the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner.

Thanks to this pitch-by-pitch breakdown from the Globe and Mail, they don’t have to wonder anymore.

In fact, the Globe and Mail analyzed all 3,356 pitches Dickey made during his 2012 campaign. The database allows one to further understand how Dickey would pitch depending on the batter, the date and the inning.

By looking at the data, one can see that in 2012, the 38-year-old of course focused heavily on his knuckleball, throwing the pitch 86% of the time (2,889 times). It was also found that the average speed of his knuckler was 70 miles per hour and that he used it more predominantly in the second inning, and even more common as the first pitch of an at-bat.

Upon analyzing some data with reference to tonight’s Blue Jays game against the Cleveland Indians, the following stats are worth noting. Against the Indians’ leadoff hitter (and former Atlanta Braves center fielder), Michael Bourn, Dickey threw 28 of his 34 pitches for knuckleballs. While only 12 of these pitches were strikes, Bourn was able to get on base only three times against the veteran righty.

Drew Stubbs may also be new to the Indians this offseason, but he as well won’t be new to Dickey after playing with the Cincinnati Reds last season. Stubbs faced Dickey for 22 pitches and failed to reach base. Blue Jays fans hope that the same occurs tonight in Toronto.

Lastly, the Globe and Mail data shows that former Miami Marlins, and present Blue Jays, shortstop Jose Reyes faced 83 pitches from Dickey and recorded four hits. Despite having faced Reyes 20 times in 2012, Dickey threw only three four-seam fastballs to his former New York Mets teammate. Expect Reyes to see more fastballs against Indians starter Justin Masterson tonight.

Recognizing the data provided from the Globe and Mail in reference to R.A. Dickey, it is evident that Blue Jays fans have a reason to look to their Ace’s past and be excited about his future.