Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Congratulations Ross Detwiler

Nobody likes to finish the season with an 0-fer. And it is particularly no fair to pitcher inserted way over his head and expected to win games. During a particularly rough holiday weekend game against my fiance assessed Detwiler's abilities as, "This guy stinks. Why don't they bring in a reliever?", "Nobody is going to swing at that crap.", and "Hey, that guy hits and runs pretty well... maybe he should play in the field..." Yeah, not exactly glowing praise for the 23 year-old. Fortunately, Ross got a chance to go back to Syracuse and fine tune some pitches.

While the data from Monday's game were not pretty, he is turning in better results. Since coming back up, his WPA has been in the ballpark of 0.00 or better in each of his four appearances. His pitches still tend to be inconsistent, and he doesn't get nearly enough first pitch strikes, but here are a few reasons to be excited.

* Stellar, consistent numbers reflected in AA, AAA, then September numbers. The best way to interpret his first stint is to believe that he was overthrowing to beat major league hitters.

* Stronger 4-seam fastball velocity. He has been holding low 90's this month (after a decent innings load), touching 93/94. Earlier, he was mostly right around 90.

* Three and a half distinct pitches. His curveball, while mostly out of the zone, is much sharper, and his release point when throwing it is now almost spot on. I'm not sure what the hell this crap is, but it seems to diminish it's consistency.

* His line drive percentage is right at 25%, well above the league average. As a decent ground ball and strike out pitcher, he will likely see this number regress toward the league average, resulting in fewer hits.

* He's still just 24 on Opening Day.

* He is healthy and ends the season on a positive note.

Detwiler will likely be given a fair shot to win one of the rotation spots vacated by the likes of Olsen, Zimmermann, and hopefully Livan Hernandez, and odds are that unless he stinks up the spring training facility, he will win one of them. Maybe he will progress similar to Mark Mulder, forced into the rotation a year early, but benefited from the beatings.

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