What's new

D-Train on AOL Front Page!

markotsay7

Guest
Picture of Willis with the headline "Making History Right Off the Bat"...then it says "Hard-Throwing Dontrelle Willis is Top Rookie: Justice's Column"

So here's Justice's Column (about Willis and his ROY competition)

By Hook or by Rook: Several Standout First-Year Players

By RICHARD JUSTICE
AOL Exclusive

You'd never heard of Dontrelle Willis until a few weeks ago, had you? Now, you're fascinated by him. You're dazzled by the high leg kick, intrigued by the sweeping arm motion and amazed at the way he has dominated big league hitters.

At the age of 21, Willis, a left-handed pitcher for the Florida Marlins, looks as if he'll be baseball's next great thing.

"He reminds me of Dwight Gooden,'' Marlins hitting coach Bill Robinson gushed. "Dave Parker used to talk about himself, saying there's only one of him every 10 years that comes down the pike. Well, here he is.''

Indeed. Since being summoned to the big leagues, Willis has gone 7-1, compiled a 2.38 ERA and struck out 55 hitters in 56 2/3 innings.

"He's like a left-handed Juan Marichal and Vida Blue,'' Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "If he could win another game or two, how could baseball not even consider this guy for the All-Star Game?''

If nothing else, he has made this season a bit more interesting, especially in South Florida where fans have pretty much given up on big league hardball.

When Willis pitched against the Brewers last week, the telecast drew the franchise's highest ratings in five years (a 4.44). That interest hasn't translated into larger crowds at home, but it's a start.

We love rookies. We love watching them establish themselves. We love hearing the story of how teams scout and develop them. We love how their presence can energize a club.

This is a great season for rookies.

With finances tighter than ever, teams are rushing players to the big leagues and what they're finding is what baseball people have known for a hundred years.

The good ones do just fine. Forget those stories about ruining kids by promoting them too quickly. The ones who are ruined probably weren't going to make it anyway.

Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were 19 when they put on big league uniforms for the first time. Cal Ripken and Hank Aaron were 20. For the good ones, there's an adjustment period, but they somehow make it.

So it is this season.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were widely second-guessed for jumping Rocco Baldelli to the big leagues after just a few games at Triple-A at the end of last season.

The Devil Rays did it anyway because they saw the speed and the quick bat and the athleticism. And now, they've got a 21-year-old star. He has been one of baseball's best hitters, rookie or otherwise, since the first day of this season and will probably take his .314 batting average to the All-Star Game.

So at a time when baseball begins picking players for the Summer Classic -- hey, that's what the advertisements call it -- we present the other stars of baseball's 2003 rookie class.

Mike MacDougal, Kansas City Royals closer (16 saves, 3.31 ERA) -- The Royals have missed on some first-round picks in recent years, but in 1999, they got it right with the 6-foot-4, 195-pound right-hander. Their new closer has a 99-mph fastball, a terrific breaking pitch and the courage to accept the highs and lows of pitching the final inning. His 16 saves are easily the tops among all major league rookies.

Jose Valverde, Arizona Diamondbacks closer (7 saves, 1.80 ERA) -- Meet the new Babybacks. The Diamondbacks were once criticized for not developing enough players, but when injuries decimated the big league roster, they started bringing up the kids. Guess what? The kids are all right. They've had nine make their big league debuts, and all of a sudden, the Diamondbacks are more interesting and looking a lot like a team that can catch the Giants and Dodgers in the NL West once Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson return from the disabled list. Matt Mantei's injury forced the Diamondbacks to summon Valverde, 23, from the minor leagues. Talk about spectacular beginnings. He got saves in seven of his first 10 appearances and has been close to unhittable at times.

Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks right-handed pitcher (3-2, 2.38 ERA) -- He got a chance because of injuries to Johnson and Schilling, and now is one of the reasons this club thinks it might steal the NL West from the Giants and Dodgers. In 10 starts, he has not allowed more than three runs and has held the opposition to two or less seven times. He has just three victories, but the Diamondbacks are 7-3 in his starts.

Lyle Overbay, Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman (.283, 3 HRs, 18 RBI) -- Club officials thought so much of him they kept Mark Grace around to serve as a mentor. His numbers aren't spectacular, but he methodically is establishing himself as an impact player.

Hideki Matsui, New York Yankees outfielder (.289, 7 HRs, 49 RBI) -- Okay, so he's 29 years old and only a rookie in the technical sense after a nice career in Japan. Nevertheless, he didn't just debut this season. He did it for the New York Yankees, who hyped him beyond belief and then expected him to fulfill all the type. He has not been the monstrous home run hitter they hoped (he has seven), but otherwise has been a solid hitter and a respectable outfielder.

Angel Berroa, Kansas City Royals shortstop (.279, 8 HRs, 27 RBI) -- Another Royal? And you wonder why they seem different this season. Berroa has done a nice job defensively and made a contribution offensively as well.

Scott Podsednik, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder (.300, 3 HRs, 19 RBI) -- He's with his third organization and did poorly in two brief stints with the Mariners. The Brewers have turned this season into a virtual season-long tryout, and Podsednik has made the most of his chance.

Jae Seo, New York Mets right-handed pitcher (5-2, 2.66 ERA) -- He's one of the bright spots of a terrible season and one of the reasons the Mets feel optimistic things will be better next season. Besides five victories, he has pitched at least six innings in seven consecutive starts.

Brad Lidge, Houston Astros right-handed pitcher (4-1, 2.36 ERA) -- He was a 1998 No. 1 pick out of Notre Dame, but arm injuries basically sidelined him his first three professional seasons. He was finally healthy last season and the Astros brought him to the big leagues as the setup guy for late-inning specialists Billy Wagner and Octavio Dotel. He has been spectacular almost from day one with a 95-mph fastball and a slider that is as good as any in the big leagues.

Lance Carter, Tampa Bay Devil Rays closer (12 saves, 2.72 ERA) -- He doesn't have the 95-mph gas of most closers, but his control is precise and his disposition perfect for closing. Manager Lou Piniella is building this club a piece at a time, and Carter appears to be one of the important pieces.

Luis Ayala, Montreal Expos right-handed pitcher (6-2, 2 saves, 3.09 ERA) -- He has been a valuable piece of Frank Robinson's bullpen, and along with another rookie Zach Day (4-3, 3.44), is one of the reasons the Expos believe they'll be back in the playoffs.

Kurt Ainsworth, Giants right-handed pitcher (5-4, 3.82 ERA) -- When Russ Ortiz and Livan Hernandez, the Giants said it was because they had so much quality pitching that they wouldn't be hurt. They haven't been. Ainsworth has fulfilled the hype with five victories and six quality starts (six or more innings, three or fewer runs).

Jung Bong, Atlanta Braves left-handed pitcher (5-1, 3.53 ERA, 1 save) -- The Braves are headed toward a 12th consecutive division championship because of all that offense. That offense has allowed three rookie pitchers a comfortable environment, and they've all thrived. Between them, Bong, Trey Hodges and Horacio Ramirez have 14 victories.
A post from the Richard Justice Message board about DDub:

Message 1 of 1 Subject 1 of 48
Subject: DONTRELLE
Date: 6/28/2003 4:18 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: xbadboyx422
Message-id:



did anybody see yesterday in the Boston Marlin game yesterday in the 9th inning when the benches clear?!? DID ANYBODY SEE HOW FIRED UP DONTRELLE WAS... he look like he wanted to fight the whole Red Sox team... that kid is something ELZ... MUCH ReSPECT.. Marlins better not be stupid.. Hopefully he will be good for the rest of his career.. but a lot of young pitchers start like this.. but then other teams figure them out.. hopefully he will be like a Pedro, Clemens, Maddux, Schilling.. ETC.. but i live in FL and am a marlins fan.. Go Dontrelle.. hopefully he'll spark the team enough to get a wild card .. only half the season is done.. A LOT of baseball more to go.. and hopefully these trade talks die down and lowell stayz.. us Florida teams have seen too many dismantles.. Marlins, Panthers, Heat..


And from the AOL Polls:

Who has been the best NL rookie so far?

75% Dontrelle Willis 11,093
7% Jae Seo 998
5% Brandon Webb 673
4% Scott Podsednik 593
4% Jung Bong 590
3% Jose Valverde 511
2% Brad Lidge 334
Total votes: 14,792

Wow...75%...
 

odom006

Muckdog
Joined
Jun 20, 2003
Messages
1,415
Reaction score
0
i didnt get to see the game cuz i was out last night watching charlies angles with a few hoez..... GOOD MOVIE and very funny

all u been to Sawgrass Mills Mall?????

there is a restraunt ova there called the Empire out in the Oasis so i was thinking in the back my head "what teh f*** is going in the marlins game" lucky 4 me when you walk into the restraunt there is a tv on top and itw as on Espn baseball tonight and i looked at the Box score and it said 21-5..... i was like na... must be a misprint..... score came on again i went crazy 4 about 3 minz.....

i didnt get to see it... was DONTRELLE really pumped up??????

was he readdy to go all Klitko on NOMAHHHHHHH?

man i wish i had seen the game lol..... must been Xciting when the benches cleared must thought the Marlins were da reds
 

CapeFish

Muckdog
Joined
Jun 17, 2003
Messages
23,494
Reaction score
1
dontrelle could have taken on the entire BoSox team in a fist fight. He was so pumped up.
 

odom006

Muckdog
Joined
Jun 20, 2003
Messages
1,415
Reaction score
0
awwwwweeeeeee i bet you were so proud i wish i could have seen it.....
 

CapeFish

Muckdog
Joined
Jun 17, 2003
Messages
23,494
Reaction score
1
the entire team was ready to pound them, even tommy hutton.
 

Ramp

Muckdog
Joined
Aug 21, 2002
Messages
38,437
Reaction score
0
we would probably be rocked by the Sox in a real fight
 

CapeFish

Muckdog
Joined
Jun 17, 2003
Messages
23,494
Reaction score
1
get castro in there along with redman and penny. :lol
 

odom006

Muckdog
Joined
Jun 20, 2003
Messages
1,415
Reaction score
0
oh hell ya Penny is a brawler he dont play around...... where was Juan Piere? lol

hahahahha


Loop was prop praying to Hail Mary......

A.gon must have been ready tio kick some a** to???

anywayz Tommy Hutton lmao......
 

Top Bottom