Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Knuckleballers: Limit One (1)

The New York Times has a nice profile on Charlie Zink. Zink is that rarest of beasts, a knukleballer, poised to be called up by the Red Sox any day now. Or not, based on the curious way in which the team is approaching things:

Zink, who is scheduled to start Tuesday night at Lehigh Valley, is 7-2 for the PawSox with a 2.21 earned run average, far better than his 1-10 season in 2004. He said there had already been talk of promotion three times this year. Two weeks ago, his schedule was altered so he was pitching on the same days Tim Wakefield was . . .

. . . But the Red Sox have told Zink’s agent that Jason Varitek is slated to catch four of every five games, with Kevin Cash on staff primarily to catch Wakefield. “It’s frustrating to know that because of what I do, I can only replace one guy up there,” Zink said. “And he’s doing pretty well.”
Bartolo Colon hurt his back last night, and given all the extra weight he has on his front, that could bug him for a while. With or without him, though, the Red Sox could probably use a starter (who couldn't?), and if they think Zink can get big league hitters out, they should call him up. If they're hesitiating because they don't want to burden Varitek with catching Zink or offend him by benching him for his starts, then the tail is truly wagging the dog in Boston.

8 comments:

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dre said...

Masterson is pitching well but his #s are unsustainable. The regression to the mean will be extremely harsh to him.

themarksmith said...

But how far will he regress? Can he be the next Liriano?

Dre said...

His FIP is 4.99.

He's stranding 89.3% of runners he puts on. His BABIP is .177. Neither of these is sustainable... not only will he start giving up more hits but more of those runners will also start scoring.

Daniel said...

I don't know, Cash's OPS+ is 64 (career 32!!), while Varitek's is sitting at a solid (for a catcher) 97. So do you think Zink's better enough than Colon that having a complete offensive drain in your lineup one extra time per week is worth it? Or should Varitek just learn to handle the dang knuckleball?

Unless Colon (or someone else) absolutely implodes, you keep Zink in AAA. I know Rob Neyer just felt like someone stabbed him in the side, but that's how I see it.

Pete Toms said...

Knuckleballers get our attention, they are exotic. Some stiff though, RA Dickey - jury out? & Charlie Haeger ( do I have the last name correct? the White Sox guy ) has had some good AAA #'s but...Did Jared Hernandez turn to the knuckleball as well? I recall seeing a Reds AAA pitcher in the IL who had turned to the knuckler...was it him?...

themarksmith said...

Jared Fernandez was his name, and I saw him once in Louisville and was okay. Anyway, I agree that having two knuckleballers is a little risky. But you'll never know until you let him try. If he's the next best prospect you have, you might as well bring him up.

Anonymous said...

it frustrates me that "the captain" wont learn how to catch the knuckleball.

i guess if youre this hard working, every positive sports cliche, mean so much to the team type of guy its not unreasonable to think that he'd step up and say "hey, ill do the work to get good at this."

we needed it a couple years ago when josh bard was taking bullets and tek was silent.