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  • 01/20/2008, 05:46PM ET

NTDL - Will Dontrelle Willis turn it around in Detroit?

Bigalke (142-42-16) vs Jay D. (0-1-1)
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Two simple letters: N-O.

Dontrelle Willis came into Major League Baseball as a hot commodity. But now he finds himself two years removed from his career season. Each of the past two seasons his ERA and WHIP have ballooned. His unorthodox delivery, which once had him receiving comparisons to Juan Marichal and Vida Blue, now only has fans wondering when his arm is going to finally blow out...

And now, on top of this, Willis must now face American League lineups. He no longer gets to use his hitting skills (.286 in 2007) to help the team. He will have a tough adjustment period as he acclimates himself to the nuances of a new league, and his delivery is not going to change at this point in his career.

Dontrelle Willis faces an uphill battle as he begins a new season with a new team. He can still be a servicable pitcher at times, but he will not be able to turn around his misfortunes to rediscover his 2005 form... especially not in Detroit.


Dontrelle will turn it around in Detroit because the Marlins did have much of an offense or defense. If your team doesn't have much of a defense how do you expect to do good. The Tigers defense one of the best so he will do alot better. Plus dontrelle had 170 strike outs in 2005, in 2006 he had 160 and in 2007 he had 146. When your playing for a bad team you will not play good. The Marlins were good in 2005 and that was his third season. Last year Dontrelle wanted out of Florida so if you want to be traded you will not play good so they will trade you.Now that he has been traded he will play alot better.


The Tigers have a great defense... but not even the best defense ever can fix Dontrelle's mechanics. A change of scenery will only do so much for Willis.

Several things you forgot to refute:

1. That delivery. Willis has seen his strikeout numbers decrease every season since that 2005 campaign -- as YOU yourself pointed out here. He has experienced problems in that arm in the past...

2. Switching to the AL. Willis will be facing much better batters in the American League than he ever battled in the NL. He won't have soft bottoms to the line-up to bolster his numbers.

3. He won't be hitting. One of the things that always made Willis more desirable in the National League was the fact that he could hit. There will be a designated hitter to take his slot in the batting order... so his offensive pop will go unrealized.

Willis will be on a better team... but merely changing leagues and area codes is not enough to take Dontrelle back to the highest heights of 2005...


He may not return to the good Willis like in 2005. But he will be close look what the Tiger have done to this pitcher when they got them after they had a bad season.

Nate Robertson pitched for the Marlins in 2002 and was 0-1 with a 11.88 ERA with 3 strike outs in 8.1 innings pitched in 6 games and in 2003 when he came to the Tigers he was 1-2 with a 5.44 ERA with 33 strike outs in 44.2 innings in 8 games.

Jason Grilli pitched for the White Sox in 2004 and was 2-3 with a 7.40 ERA in 45.0 innings in 8 games. In 2005 he pitched for the Tigers and was 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 16.0 innings in 3 games. In 2006 he pitched for the Tigers and was 2-3 with a 4.21 ERA in 67.0 innings in 51 games. In 2007 5-3 with 4.74 ERA in 79.2 innings in 57 games.

Bobby Seay pitched for the Rockies in 2005 and was 0-0 with a 8.49 ERA with 11 strike outs in 11.2 innings in 17 games. In 2006 he was with the Tigers and was 0-0 with a 6.46 ERA with 12 strike outs in 15.1 innings in 14 games. In 2007 he was with the Tigers and was 3-0 with a 2.33 ERA with 38 strike outs in 46.1 innings in 58 games.


All great examples, Jay... but the fact remains that NONE of these pitchers ever received the hype or played at the level Willis achieved with the Marlins several years back. He has the potential to be a servicable pitcher in Detroit, it is true... but will he TURN IT AROUND?

That, to me, means he will revert to his previously dominant form. And there are simply too many factors going against Willis. No change in scenery, ballpark, uniform or coaching staff is going to be able to manipulate his mechanics to keep his arm better protected. He will continue to use his unorthodox delivery, and will continue to be at risk for a career-ending injury.

Your examples in the previous argument, furthermore, focus on relievers... and most of them needed several years to adjust to the AL after coming from the NL. Grilli saw a positive shift in his performance in 2005; he then regressed every year thereafter. Robertson lowered his ERA & raised his strikeouts... but also got 5 TIMES MORE innings to do so. These examples are more statistical anomaly than indications of a positive trend. Willis might see better numbers this season, but he will not turn it around to rediscover his lost mojo.


<font color="red">Forfeited Turn</font>

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