Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tim Wakefield

Tim is sort of the anti-Manny. He's not flashy; doesn't stir up any controversy. Bill Plaschke and Mikey Adams probably like him. And he might secretly be paying the Red Sox to pitch. But his starts have become appointment television over the years for me. Why? He throws the knuckleball.

The knuckler is going the way of the polar bear, but it is one of my favorite pitches to watch. According to Fangraphs (just fool around with the site. You'll find the right section.), only 5 major league pitchers floated the pitch last year; Wakefield, Charlie Saeger, and R. A. Dickey used it as their bread and butter pitch. Josh Banks and Eddie Bonine also tossed it on occasion. Charlie Zink is presumably somewhere in the minors. These other guys get the ball moving in the 70s, but the average Wakefield pitch goes about the Interstate speed limit. Along with Ramirez and Lincecum, Wake is a potential selectee for my Rabbit Maranville All Stars.


  1. Jon, I have one for your Rabbit Maranville All-Stars. David Eckstein. Here's what I wrote about him the day he was traded from Toronto to Arizona:

    "I have always found it immensely pleasurable to watch David Eckstein play baseball. There probably isn't a ballplayer alive who couldn't benefit from adapting something Eckstein does to his own game. (The last guys I remember who were like this were Ozzie Smith and Tony Fernandez). I hope Aaron Hill absorbed a lot of the lessons visible in Eckstein's play while he was able to play with him this year - noted the furious commitment (to the moment and to the cause of winning) that carries ordinary players and ordinary teams to the top of the heap.

    That said, Eckstein is not a major league shortstop anymore and since he still delivers value with the bat he really should be playing second base (presumably with the D-Backs he will). It's been difficult to watch Eckstein struggle to make his body respond to the demands of a position it can no longer handle. I imagine Eckstein could still play a very fine second base... his feet are definitely not too slow, his footwork is still very fine and his arm, now a total liability at short, is plenty good enough for second.

    Much like Mike Bordick before him, David Eckstein was an utter class act and the great thing about his time here is that he's undoubtedly made tens of thousands of more fans for life. Players like David Eckstein actually deserve the hero worship that people give to athletes. I say that without knowing a thing about his personal life (he could bite the heads of baby rabbits for all I care); I mean he plays baseball like a religious mystic in the throes of a frenzied ecstasy."