Gong For Gold: Ace(s) In The Hole
Kris Medlen has elected to be removed from the United States roster because he doesn’t want to potentially miss the birth of his first child, which is due February 5th . He was going to be one of 4 starters that included R.A. Dickey, Ryan Vogelsong, and Derek Holland. The next spot was between Andy Petite and Justin Verlander but Petite has turned down the offer making it Verlander’s to have if he chooses so. Clayton Kershaw, C.C. Sabathia, and David Price are all pitchers who have been asked and turned down the offer. I am surprised that JV was not the first pitcher to be invited to the team. Verlander has until February 20th to decide whether he is ready or not to be able to pitch to his own expectations.
R.A. Dickey is an amazing story that came out this year when he took the league by storm won 20 games while only obtaining a 2.73 Earned Run Average. He is a 38 year old pitcher whose previous high in wins was 11. He has only started in 139 games in his ten year career but has begun to have success after re-branding himself as a knuckleball pitcher.
Ryan Vogelsong is a 35 year old pitcher that before the past two seasons hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2006 and posted a 6.39 ERA in that season. He is another guy, like DIckey, that has only recently had success in the Majors and seems to have a chip on his shoulder. Vogelsong has won 13 and 14 games in the last two years and made the All-Star team in 2011.
Derek Holland is the only left handed starting pitcher that is on the team. He is a 26 year old that has been playing in the league for four years. He has 28 wins over the past two years while only losing 12 games.
Holland and Vogelsong are both pitchers whose fastball velocity starts around 86 mph and tops out at 91-93 mph. Dickey is a an unconventional knuckleballer who throws a harder knuckler than most. Typically Knuckleballer’s throw around 65 or 66 but Dickey’s tops out around 82-83 mph. If Verlander joins the club then they are set pretty well with different types of pitchers that can cause confusion to certain clubs. Verlander usually throws around 94-95 mph in the first few innings and gains momentum the deeper he gets into games, typically hitting triple digits. They might not need all four pitchers because they probably play 8-9 games and won’t be playing every day but it will be a nice luxury to have these guys.
If you have missed any of the other Going For Gold blogs then make sure to read them on benjamindbrown.wordpress.com. I’ll close out the positional blogs with the guys who are the last ones on the field, the relief pitchers.