Everyone probably knows I'm a big fan of Pat Neshek. He's a Minnesota product with a funky delivery who strikes a lot of guys out and is remarkably accessible to the fans via both his blog and his Twitter account. What's not to like?

His delivery has been debated back and forth here on the wild ol' internet; is he only getting strikeouts because of his weird motion? Will hitters adjust to that and start hitting him once it's no longer novel? Will it cause an injury, since it's so unorthodox?

I've always argued that he's effective because of his stuff, not because of his unusual delivery; if he had a perfectly normal delivery, it wouldn't suddenly become easy to hit a 91 MPH fastball with wicked late movement. Or to adjust to its accompanying nasty frisbee slider.

Despite Neshek's recent Tommy John surgery that cost him almost two full seasons, I think the injury concerns are overblown. Pitchers get hurt all the time whether their deliveries are orthodox or not; I don't see why his "unique" motion should make a difference.

But you know what Neshek is missing? A good nickname. And thanks to an idea I picked up from Thrylos98, I think I've got one.

Watch this video of Neshek's delivery:

Then watch this video of some old-timer:

For those of you who aren't 90+ years old, that was Walter Johnson, a legendary pitcher and long-time member of the Senators/Twins franchise.

So Neshek's delivery is remarkably similar to Johnson's; Neshek is from the Twin Cities.

Johnson was a starter, a horse who could pitch a ton of innings; Neshek is a short reliever, who throws a single inning at a time.

Walter Johnson was The Big Train.

I propose that Pat Neshek is The Local.

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08 April 2010