Let this simmer a moment…
R.A. Dickey’s last 6 GS: 6-0, 48.2 IP, surrendered just 21 H and 1 ER, with a 63:5 K/BB ratio. His ERA/WHIP during this outrageous span: 0.19/0.54, respectively. Yeah, his ERA is lower than his WHIP.
Per Elias, Dickey is the first player in modern day ball (since 1900) with back-to-back complete-game one-hitters of 10+ strikeouts! Furthermore, he is the 1st in ALL of MLB history with five straight starts of 0 ER and 8+ strikeouts.
Now consider that Dickey throws two pitches, essentially: the knuckleball 85% of the time and a fastball 14% of the time. Not only does he lead all of the MLB in Zone% (% of pitches the hitters see in the strike zone), but he somehow manages to also induce the 2nd-lowest Z-Contact% (% of pitches in the zone with which hitters make contact) and highest SwStr% (% of total pitches on which a batter swings and misses).
In other words, Dickey throws the greatest percentage of his pitches in the zone out of every SP in baseball, and yet he simultaneously manages to induce the greatest number of swings and misses per pitch, and consequently, the least amount of contact per pitch. This is astounding.
For comparison’s sake, let’s take a look at some of the elite pitchers in the game:
Here, you see Dickey is getting more swinging strikes per pitch than anyone, while throwing the highest rate of pitches in the zone! This is the most forthcoming depiction of just how dominant R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball has been through 14 starts this season. In fact, after Peavy’s 2-seam FB, Dickey’s KN has been the most effective/valuable pitch in baseball thus far.
I plan on taking a deeper-dive into additional Pitchf/x data to compare the vertical and horizontal movement of Dickey’s knuckleball versus some of the premier knuckleballers.