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.