Getting to know knuckleballer Jordan Powell
23 days ago
The Blue Jays may have found their next R.A. Dickey.
On January 21, Toronto signed right-handed pitcher Jordan Powell, who’s main pitch is the knuckleball.
Powell spent a handful of seasons in community college, having enrolled with Florida Southern College but never pitching a game. It’s also worth noting that his bio on his Florida Southern page states that he’s received Tommy John surgery. He transferred to St. Petersburg College and had a 1.17 ERA in 15.1 innings with two strikeouts in his only season with the Titans.
Afterwards, the 25-year-old right-handed pitcher transferred to North Greenville University. He played just one season in the NCAA, posting a 4.91 ERA in 11 innings pitched, along with a 20.3 K% and a 13.6 BB%.
Powell spent the 2022 season playing in the independent league, and posted a 18.36 ERA in 25 innings pitched between the Empire State Greys and the Northern Colorado Owlz. Between the two teams, he had a 10.1 K% and a 10.7 BB%, which is obviously less than ideal.
Still, when a pitcher throws a low-90s knuckleball, you take notice. The pitch itself has gone out of vogue in recent memories, with former Blue Jay Dickey being the last notable pitcher to utilize the pitch. Dickey did so well with it, in fact, that he won the National League Cy Young award in 2012, a season before the Jays traded for him.
The knuckleball is still sporadically used around the league. On the day that the great Tim Wakefield passed away, George Kirby of the Seattle Mariners threw this nasty knuckleball and could very well use it next season. There’s a handful of minor leaguers that use it full-time, but Matt Waldron was the only pitcher that regularly used one during the 2023 season.
With that being said, Powell will get his first chance in affiliate ball. It’s to be seen where the 25-year-old ends up to start the season. Still, it’ll be fun to watch him pitch in 2024.
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