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Marlins could have a gem in lefty Willis

DurableTear

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Credit: ESPN.com/John Sickels


Friday, May 16
Marlins could have a gem in lefty Willis
By John Sickels
Special to ESPN.com


Toby P. writes: Would you give me the skinny on Dontrelle Willis, the Florida Marlins' little-known super prospect.

Willis has made two starts for the Marlins now. He has a 4.91 ERA, but I note the fact that he's fanned 14 in his first 11 innings, a good sign for the future. He hasn't received as much attention as some other hot pitching prospects, but he's certainly one of the best lefty prospects around, and with all the injuries on the Marlins pitching staff, he's getting a chance sooner than expected.

Willis, a left-hander, was originally drafted by the Cubs in the eighth round in 2000, out of high school in California. He pitched well for their short-season A-ball club in '01, then was traded to Florida in the Matt Clement deal last spring. In '02 he emerged on the prospect lists with a strong season at Class A Kane County and Class A Jupiter, combining for a 128/24 K/BB ratio in 158 innings, with a 1.82 ERA. Impressive on the mound at 6-4, 200, Willis has a decent fastball that registers in the upper 80s/low 90s on the radar gun. But the pitch has good movement, and he uses a very deceptive delivery to make the pitch look faster than the guns say it is. He also has good control and a strong changeup.

Willis has come very far, very fast, and has very little experience above A-ball. How he adjusts to major-league conditions is uncertain at this time, though he's done OK in his first two outings. He is definitely an exciting prospect, but I worry that Florida may be forced to rely on him for a lot of innings this year, and he might not be ready for that just yet.
 

Wild Card

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Notice the name, Toby P... :mischief2

Maybe it was Toby B, and he didn't want to be spotted?
 

Ramp

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DW is the man....

or is he the duck?

whatever he is, awesomeness is a good word
 

Ramp

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i call him the ' Pimp with the Limp ' !!
does he pimp? ;)
 

farmer_fran

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Yep, willis has looked pretty good so far, I think he'll get better with each start too. I saw him pitch in spring training vs. the expos, the kid has good stuff.
 

Ramp

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Willis is going to be the next nolan ryan! :w00t
he is a lefty ;)
 

Ramp

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I LIKE WAT WILLIS HAS DONE SO FAR . :cool
enough with the caps dude....



and DW is been ok.... but I am still waiting to see that gem from him
 

DurableTear

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Ramp.. this kid came from AA.. gives you 2 solid starts so far.. 4.91 ERA (?)..to me that's impressive.. unlike Penny.. who falls apart once in a while..
 

Ramp

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Ramp.. this kid came from AA.. gives you 2 solid starts so far.. 4.91 ERA (?)..to me that's impressive.. unlike Penny.. who falls apart once in a while..
i know where he came from..... and he is has been fine... but I want to see a better start....
 

Das Texan

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willis has not 'shocked' the world yet.



he has a couple of 'ok' starts.



of course he could be the next wayne...so lets be thankful he is not getting shelled out there.


he should have the advantage right now...



it will be interesting to see how the league reacts and how he reacts after the league has seen him a few times.
 

Wild Card

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;) I thought Josh Beckett was supposed to be the next Nolan Ryan?
No, Beckett is the next Clemens... Burnett is Nolan... Willis is R. Johnson (because of his release and sick, nasty, crazy good slider...)
 

Wild Card

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willis has not 'shocked' the world yet.



he has a couple of 'ok' starts.



of course he could be the next wayne...so lets be thankful he is not getting shelled out there.


he should have the advantage right now...



it will be interesting to see how the league reacts and how he reacts after the league has seen him a few times.
Sry I'm double posting... :banghead

But he has had a couple of CAREER STARTING 'ok' starts... That impresses me right there. Coming straight out of AA ball when you havent even completed half a season there... That's just amazing to me...
 

Das Texan

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Frankly, I dont give a damn what you do in the minors....


Transcend it into big league success.


He has been good for a young prospect, but I am not blown away yet.
 

Das Texan

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clemens followed nolan in terms of big time fireballer from texas.




right now kerry wood seems to be closer to being the next ryan as opposed to beckett.
 

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