After a season of highs-and-lows for the right-hander, R.A. Dickey beat out fellow teammate Mark Buehrle, who had won the award for four straight seasons as a member of the Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox.
R.A. Dickey beat out Detroit Tigers’ Doug Fister and his own Blue Jays teammate Mark Buehrle. To make things even sweeter, Dickey was the only pitcher to pick up this award on his 39th birthday. The last Toronto player to win a Gold Glove was Vernon Wells in 2006.
It was the first year that advanced statistics were used to help determine the best defensive players in each position, counting for a quarter of the votes, alongside the votes submitted by major-league managers and coaches.
R.A. Dickey was also awarded a 2013 Fielding Bible Award earlier this week, another first in his career. The honor recognizes the best defensive player in each fielding position based on statistical analysis.
Considering Dickey’s rough start in 2013 following the hype and promise from the blockbuster Toronto trades of 2012, this turn around might just be what he needs to carry over into 2014 when paired with his solid last few months after adjusting to the American League and hitter-friendly Rogers Centre.
At the end of the season, R.A. Dickey admitted to using his first year in Toronto as a learning experience:
“I knew that [it] was going to be a ginormous challenge. That’s one of the reasons I signed here. I like that. I saw what my knuckleball could do in the NL East for three years, and I felt like I had it at a point where it’s exciting to challenge the best hitters day in and day out. I feel like the AL East is representative of that… I do feel like I gathered a lot of information I can apply to next season that should be helpful. Now it all comes down to execution, of course. But to have information is half the battle.”
His post-Cy Young season with the Blue Jays had many fans scratching their heads in the beginning, but after finishing 14-13 with two awards now under his belt, his neck and back muscle issues which hindered the velocity and effectiveness of his signature pitch gone and his persistent positive outlook, we can hope that his shaky days on the mound will be well behind him come 2014.