Choo-Choo!!! What is that? That’s the Steven Wright train coming, and I’m all aboard. Who would have thought that before the 2016 season, Steven Wright would be the best pitcher, not only on the Red Sox, but in the whole American League? Currently, Wright leads the American League with an astounding 2.01 ERA. What is more impressive is his 1.10 WHIP, which ranks him 10th best in the AL, ahead of names such as David Price, Danny Salazar, and Jordan Zimmerman.
Wright’s performance last night should solidify his spot on the American League All-Star team. The knuckleballer went 9 innings, scattering 5 hits and giving up 0 earned runs for the third time in 4 starts. Unfortunately, the Red Sox fell short, losing 3-1 in 10 innings.
Wright has been extremely effective as of late and is the clear-cut best pitcher on the Red Sox currently. His ability to change speeds with his knuckleball has made good hitters, look absolutely foolish. Wright is not like your typical knuckleballer. He changes speeds and can even paint the corners with a fastball on occasion. So why isn’t he getting recognition for his outstanding performance thus far?
To be honest, the knuckleball isn’t sexy. Baseball fans would rather watch Jose Fernandez fire 98 mph fastballs and Clayton Kershaw break people’s legs with his 12 to 6 curveball. The knuckleball is like watching a butterfly fly around aimlessly. Unfortunately, people don’t get fully torqued to watch that. As a Red Sox fan, I see Wright pitch every fifth day, and I’m always constantly amazed. His knuckleball is up there with Chris Sale’s Slider and Kershaw’s curveball. Let’s give this man the recognition he deserves.
The knuckleball isn’t sexy and neither is Wright. Alright people I had to say it. Wright doesn’t have the stereotypical athletes’ body. In fact, if you saw him on the streets you would probably think he works in a cubicle at some insurance company from 9-5 each day. Instead, his office is Fenway Park. The Mathew Perry look-alike, doesn’t strike you as an athlete. At 6’2 and 215 pounds, Wright has the dad bod that every frat boy strives for. He certainly doesn’t intimidate any hitters with his stature. Pitchers like Jose Fernandez, Maddison Bumgarner, and Jake Arrieta are fun to watch because it looks like they were bred to be dominant athletes. I know it’s not fair to judge a book by its cover, but that’s the nature of human beings.
Wright isn’t a proven commodity yet. Is this lightning in a bottle or is Wright actually a dominant force on the rubber? Since coming into the league, Wright has always been a mediocre pitcher, making spot starts here and there when pitchers like Clay Buchholz go down with the usual mid-season injury. Wright was never a stand out prospect but what made him unique was the fact that he threw a pitch that only few people have ever mastered. For his whole career, Wright has been looked past and never given the chance to make a name for himself. 2016 is his year to finally do so. If Wright can continue this torrid start, people will need to respect him as one of the better pitchers in the league.
What is wrong with the Red Sox knuckleballer? Maybe he is a little fluffy around the edges, or maybe he doesn’t blow people away with his velocity, but to me he is just Wright. (See what I did there?)