No, not Strasburg, of course. Ross Detwiler picked up his first major league win last night. He was the #1 pick for the Nats, 6th overall, in 2007. A little over 2 calendar years for him to get his first win, not too shabby. Good thing for him, as there aren’t exactly that many days left in the season.
Detwiler worked in and out of trouble but never let the Mets break through. Even in the 6th, his last, he managed to strike out the final batter with two men in scoring position. This was after throwing two wild pitches, he still was trusting his own stuff enough to strike him out. He left without the lead, it was 1-1, but a Mike Morse homer in the bottom of the inning allowed him to pick up the win.
In those 6 IP, he only let up 1 ER, and he struck out 3 while walking 1. He scattered 7 hits, which won’t always lead to so few runs, but giving up only 1 BB really helped to keep the score down. Since he’s been recalled from AAA, he’s started 3 games and has had 1 relief appearance. In those 18 2/3 IP, he has an ERA of 2.41. More importantly, he’s done quite a bit to get himself penciled in to the starting rotation for next year.
Detwiler looks to be getting more comfortable and his stuff is good enough to keep him on a roster. He isn’t one of those guys who needs to get by on guile alone. Not that people are thinking he’s going to be a number one starter in the future. ESPN’s former scout Keith Law saw his last outing and had a few interesting things to say about him.
Detwiler suffered some velocity loss in 2008 that jeopardized his big league future, but on Wednesday, his stuff was very close to where it was in college. He pitched from 89 to 94 mph with his fastball and showed a solid-average changeup at 83-85… the curveball is never going to be a weapon for him… Given his age and athleticism, I’d give him more than a passing chance to improve that control to the point where it’s average or slightly above, which would make him a solid fourth starter in the big leagues.
Of course the optimist in me says “solid fourth” translates to “potential to be a #3 man.” But those rotation position numbers aren’t the real heart of the matter. Law is basically saying while he doesn’t expect Detwiler to be a star, he thinks he could be someone you can reliably give the ball to once every 5 days and expect an opportunity to win if you hit behind him. And if you have Strasburg, Zimmermann and Lannan going, Detwiler can fit right in the back there. It may not be the greatest thing out of a #6 overall pick, but it is still something that this team desperately needs.