Author Topic: Detwiler to AA?  (Read 844 times)

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Offline hammondsnats

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Re: Detwiler to AA?
« Topic Start: August 12, 2009, 11:55:33 AM »
No leave him in AAA ... he's had 1 bad start, 1 so-so start and 2 really good ones in 4 outings. 

Here's a good story on Det (love his attitude here) ...

Chiefs pitcher Ross Detwiler works on his consistency while waiting for the Nationals' call
Posted by Lindsay Kramer / The Post-Standard August 11, 2009 8:10AM
Categories: Breaking News

(Image removed from quote.)
Al Campanie / The Post-Standard
Ross Detwiler is 0-2 with a 4/64 ERA since being sent down by the Washington Nationals, where he was 0-5. He began the season at Double-A Harrisburg.

Appearances aside, Syracuse Chiefs pitcher Ross Detwiler's career is literally advancing at an inch-by-inch clip.

Detwiler recently sat on a couch outside the team's locker room and tried to explain what he's learned in the three seasons since Washington grabbed him No. 6 overall in the 2007 draft. He took his hand and placed it on the lower to mid-portion of his thigh. This is what pitching low in the strike zone means in Single-A, he said.

He moved his hand down a couple inches. This is where you have to locate to handle Double-A hitters, he explained. He then slid his hand barely above his kneecap. Go any higher with your offerings than that against Major League hitters and you are usually risking real trouble.

The point was that while all hurlers understand the value of pitching down, the definition of that task varies greatly depending upon the level of competition.

"Even when I'm saying it now, it seems extremely simple," he said. "But it's not. I know it's not."

It's a valuable lesson, one that the left-hander has had to learn on the fly. Detwiler's development so far has been a combination of fast-track and backtrack.

Detwiler, 23, split his 2007 rookie season among the rookie level Gulf Coast Nats, Single-A Potomac of the Carolina League and even got one game with the Washington Nationals. Last year, he got extended seasoning all the way back down at Potomac, going 8-8 with a 4.86 ERA, 57 walks and 114 strikeouts in 124 innings pitched.

This season, he was bumped up to Double-A Harrisburg (0-3, 2.96) before completely skipping Triple-A for a much longer -- and sometimes painful -- look in Washington (0-5, 6.40).

Now, in the first Triple-A action of his career, Detwiler is struggling with consistency at his newest level of education. In five starts with the Chiefs, he's 0-2 with a 4.64 ERA and 30 hits allowed, 22 strikeouts and 11 walks in 21 1/3 innings.

Did the Nationals hurry that process a bit? Maybe. But Detwiler hasn't had the luxury of a Plan B.

"I didn't really know any other way. If I had done it before, or gone a different route, I might have felt rushed," he said. "Everyone wants to be there (the majors) tomorrow. If you look at the history of pitchers, most good pitchers struggle their first couple of years."

As a native of a rural St. Louis suburb, Detwiler has that sort of low-key sensibility. He grew up a huge Cardinals fan, of course, in a household where his parents and two older brothers used to gather around the television to catch nearly every St. Louis game.

"I'm kind of from the country. We had horses on our front yard growing up. Woods and a lake in our backyard," he said. "Calm and peaceful. If you wanted to get away from something, you were already away from it."

Detwiler wasn't drafted out of high school, but bloomed into a top prospect at Missouri State. The Nationals tried tinkering with Detwiler in his first year as a pro, a move that minor league pitching coordinator Spin Williams admits was a mistake.

"We usually let them do what's natural. The problem was he was struggling. He was (throwing) even further across his body than when we signed him," Williams said. "We were afraid of injury. We tried to change his stride length, open him up. It was something we thought would help him. It wound up hurting him. He's back to a more controlled position."

Detwiler's efforts in Harrisburg convinced the Nationals that he deserved another look up top. They were right -- to an extent. Detwiler was initially expected to stay for one start, but he showed enough that the team kept him up for an extended trial.

"My last two starts there, I felt myself trying to do too much," Detwiler said. "I felt like I needed to get back on track. I don't want to admit it, but I knew it (a demotion) was the best thing for me."

In Syracuse, Detwiler has looked to be in a groove for nearly every inning he's pitched. He said he's been getting a feel for his new margin of error and a sense of how to create what he calls "good contact," or pitches that produce easy outs.

"You can't just say, 'This is the minor leagues,'" he said of his approach. "You have to figure these are the best minor leaguers, who are one step away (from the majors). This is going to be the future here."

It's a future that will come much sooner for some players than others, and Syracuse manager Tim Foli has no problem with the Nationals shoving Detwiler toward his.

"We don't have a usual club," Foli said of Washington. "We want to get the best guys we can up there. He's one of the best guys. We'll keep pushing forward. He'll be in the (Nationals) rotation shortly, and he'll be there for 10 years."