Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Not A Good Sign

Ross Detwiler was Our Washington Nationals 1st Round Pick in 2007, 6th Overall in that year's Entry Draft. Coming out of college at Missouri State University--you had to figure Detwiler was more refined--better prepared for The Big Leagues--than many of the other seniors, underclassmen or even high schoolers available at that point in time.

Yet, Ross has done nothing but struggle in his professional career. And today, he paid for a poor 2009 spring showing by being optioned to AA Harrisburg in the first cuts made by Our Washington Nationals. I don't think ANYONE expected Ross Detwiler to make The 25 Man Roster for Opening Day, 2009. But the very fact that Washington moved him away from the Major League Camp on the very first day possible this Spring Training--means Ross Detwiler has a long way to go.

Speaking about Ross--Interim GM Mike Rizzo was quoted by Barry Svrluga: "I'd like to see him take the same step he took from last spring training to this spring training. ... The stuff is there, and it's going to be there. We knew when we drafted him, he wasn't a finished product. He was a stuff guy, and we had to refine his delivery."

Which begs the question for me--if Ross Detwiler's Collegian Delivery was so off--why was he so successful at that point in time? Yet now, with Baseball Development adjusting his mechanics--Detwiler seems completely out of sync? In fact, lost.

When The African Queen and I watched Our Number 48 pitch in Exhibition Play in Viera last week, Ross appeared to be just heaving the baseball to the plate, throwing, not pitching. And to make matters worse, his confidence seems amiss. After following through on each pitch thrown--Detwiler appeared fearful--hopeful the batter will not hit his pitch. That's not the look of a former Number 1 Draft Pick.

Not everybody makes it coming out of college. Bobby Brownlie was a Number 1 Pick in 2002, but shoulder injuries have sidetracked this current Washington Nationals Farmhand for quite a few years. Brownlie might never make it to The Big Leagues. Chad Cordero was drafted by The Montreal Expos in the 1st Round of The 2003 Draft--because he was signable for Baseball's Orphan Franchise and for the same reason as Detwiler--more Major League ready coming out of Cal-State Fullerton. Cordero made it big--until a torn labrum sidetracked his career.

Detwiler has had no such injuries. But he hasn't developed as quickly as expected either. Ross Detwiler is still young of age at 23, a lefthander, with the potential of playing a long time in this game. Yet it just seems that his confidence is shot. And before Our Washington Nationals make any more changes in his delivery--maybe they should find a way to rebuild his heart. Because no matter how good your stuff really is--if you don't trust throwing it for strikes, you not going to have the tenacity to get people out consistently anyway.

So, I would really like to know--was Ross Detwiler's delivery really that bad when he first became a Washington National? Ryan Wagner always says that he was never the same coming out of The University of Houston as The Number One Pick for The Cincinnati Reds--after The Reds Baseball Development Staff insisted he change his delivery. Eventually, Wagner got hurt too in Washington. And only now--after surgery, rehab and a second spring training throwing within his own comfort zone delivery of his youth--does he have his mettle back--confidence in throwing all his pitches.

Should Ross Detwiler go back to his comfort zone and work within his own parameters as well-not what some others may believe he should do? Alot of scouts saw something very good in him back then--what's missing now? They are interesting questions--especially after Our Top Draft Pick in The 2007 Entry Draft is optioned on the very first day of Spring Training Camp Cuts. Ross Detwiler is too young to give up on, but today's roster move was not a good sign for a highly touted prospect.

PS--and yes Chris Marrero was re-assigned too, but Marrero needs to find a position, is coming off a broken ankle and needs more At-Bats to develop his stroke. Still just 20 Years Old, Marrero came to Major League Camp in shape and showed some maturity. He did not look overmatched and played with some confidence.

Here is the complete list of players reassigned or optioned to Minor League Camp today:


The Washington Nationals today re-assigned left-handed pitcher Justin Jones, right-handed pitchers Bobby Brownlie, Preston Larrison and J.D. Martin, catcher Javier Herrera, infielders Chris Marrero and Matt Whitney, and outfielder Destin Hood to minor league camp. The Nationals also optioned left-handed pitcher Mike O’Connor to Triple-A Syracuse and left-handed pitcher Ross Detwiler to Double-A Harrisburg. Nationals Vice President of Baseball Operations and Assistant General Manager Mike Rizzo made this announcement.

After today’s moves, the Nationals’ spring roster stands at 58.

All Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


Loyal Fan said...

Did you ever stop to think moving Detwiler to minor league camp gives him the opportunity to pitch more than he would in major league camp? There are too many pitchers in camp right now. Instead of letting him sit things out, Det will get a chance to polish what he needs to. Make no mistake - he has the stuff to be a major league pitcher!

Screech's Best Friend said...

That's a good point and I am not doubting he needs to pitch more, nor that he has major league talent. But I do believe many thought he would be farther along in his development at this time.

Anonymous said...


I watch on TV last week. I saw him with the PNats.....he looks so much worse now then last year. People keeps saying he has the Stuff.....TV had him top out at 91 MPH with some "fastballs" coming in at 89.....That is not the "stuff" he had in college. He hit 96 MPH in Sept 07 Call up if I recall correctly.....Something is really wrong here to my eyes.....Did you see a fastball that would put fear in a hitter....I just saw a soft tossing Matt Chico like lefty last week.

Tom said...

Loyal Fan:
They not only reassigned Detwiler to minor league camp, they also removed him from the 40 man roster after not being called up last year.
The new sheriff is in town.

Anonymous said...

He may not turn out to be the guy we hoped for when we selected him. That's just the way it goes sometimes.