Friday, June 10, 2011

So Much For Detwiler's Breakout Year

On Thursday morning, Capitol Baseball got its first live look at Ross Detwiler in an outing for the Syracuse Chiefs, who were taking on the Louisville Bats (awesome). Detwiler took a perfect game into the 4th inning, and he ended up getting the win (5-5 on the season), but things aren't looking so great for Rossy D. overall. We were excited about Ross's progress to start the season, because his stats looked great in spring training and had a quick start in the International League. Here's why we're concerned, now.

There are a few things about looking at Detwiler's line that are pretty easy to point out from the start. His 5.13 ERA while pitching to minor league talent is certainly of serious concern and so is the .387 BABIP that opposing hitters are putting up against him. Compared with his stint last year in Syracuse, his strikeouts per 9 innings are up, but his walks per 9 innings have nearly doubled.

In addition to the increased walks, we're extremely concerned with Detwiler's steadily decreasing velocity. In 2007, Detwiler's average fastball velocity was 93.2 mph, which showed he had could be the power lefty the Nats lacked. In 2009, Detwiler's average velocity dropped to 91.1 mph for his fastball and recorded an 84.2 mph changeup, on average. In 2010, Detwiler's fastball velocity dropped further to 89.8 mph and his changeup velocity increased to 84.8 mph.

What does that mean? Well, one of the most important parts of pitching is deception. When Detwiler averages a fastball that is only 5 mph faster than his changeup, it makes it difficult to surprise hitters. During his outing on Thursday, we never saw Detwiler break the 90 mph mark with his heater. His changeup stuck around 83 mph. What's worse, he doesn't show the command that a pitcher that only throws in the upper-80s needs to succeed.

For all these reasons, and despite our rave reviews in April, we are legitimately concerned that Ross Detwiler will turn out to be the first big time draft bust in the Nats organization. No, I won't say Chris Marrero (2006) will be a bust, yet, but Detwiler is certainly heading in that direction. Here's hoping whatever's going on with Rossy D. can be resolved soon.

1 comment:

  1. You think Detwiler would be the "first" draft bust this team has had?

    Unfortunately I think we already have several. Maxwell, Englund, Willems, Gibson, King (hitting .247 in AA in his 5th pro season), Smoker, McGeary, and Burgess (currently hitting .193 in high-A ball after his trade) are all top draft picks that one could classify as busts from our 2005-2008 drafts.

    Since Rizzo took over, its hard to claim that the Kobernus or Holder picks in 2009 were good (both are struggling in high A despite being college experienced). AJ Morris hasn't even appeared in 2011 and may be a bust as well. But it is definitely early to make such judgements on 2009 and 2010 drafts.

    Not to mention both Crow and Black, high-end draftees who never signed (despite the fact that in the end the Crow non-signing worked out with Storen, it was still a major drafting mistake).