In a recent pitching session with my 16U son Justin, we were going through a bull pen session which I hadn't really done since last year since I was tied up with my 13U team. We went through arotation of change up, 2 seam, curve, 4 seam and then he threw me the knuckle ball. I stopped at that point and put the shin gaurds on and got out the radar. We went through the same rotation 10 times but I threw in some additional knuckle ball requests.
The knuckle ball speed was 65 mph with about a 1/4 to 1/2 rotation which I seem to remember as the combo Wakefield would typically shoot for. Dickey throws it a little faster. I left feeling like he might want to consider pursuing this as his primary pitch. I never had the joint flexibility to throw that pitch so I can't give much advice on it, anyone know of any instructors in this area or other thoughts?
YEA! Don't go for instruction. You are born with a knuckle ball. I can throw a decent one with my fingernails. Some keys are to make sure to push your fingers as you release the ball. That is the magic...just enough push to balance out the natural backwards spin of the ball.
Phil Neikro's was about 55 mph I believe but could be wrong. 65 seems great...too fast and it won't break enough.
Here is the tough news though. NO ONE will ever draft a knuckle baller...Maybe in the 100th round. If he has any other skills focus on those. He won't lose the knuckle ball.