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Dontrelle Willis


Wild Card
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ESPN.com has this article from the AP up. It's a great read.

 

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Monday, June 9

 

Willis making a seamless transition from Class A to the majors

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Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) _ When the Florida Marlins traded two established major league pitchers to the Chicago Cubs 15 months ago, they insisted that a Class A left-hander be part of the return.

 

Now Dontrelle Willis has made a one-year climb from the lowest level of minor league baseball to the Marlins' starting rotation.

 

``The organization recognized a need to receive pitching in the deal with Chicago,'' Marlins general manager Admin Beinfest said. ``Dontrelle Willis was identified as a young pitcher with a high ceiling.''

 

Willis (4-1) has been one of the few bright spots this season for the Marlins (29-35), who open a three-game series Tuesday at Milwaukee.

 

He has won his last three starts, allowing only one earned run in 22 innings. His ERA, 7.07 two weeks ago, is down to a tidy 3.00 _ the best among all Marlins starters and more than full run ahead of the team average.

 

And batters, who hit .303 off Willis in his first three starts, are hitting .190 off the left-hander since.

 

``I always want to stay at the same level,'' said Willis, who was 23-5 with a 2.42 ERA in 48 minor league appearances. ``I never want to get too high, never want to get too low. I just stay as consistent as I can. I've always been that way.''

 

Willis' toughest time came in his third start, May 20 at Montreal. He gave up eight hits and five runs in three innings and manager Jack McKeon wouldn't send him back out for the fourth.

 

``I think the first couple times out, he just gave the hitters a lot more credit than they deserved,'' McKeon said. ``It's only natural, a kid would come into the big leagues and be awed for a couple of games. Now he's back to pitching like he's pitched all his life.''

 

McKeon saw Willis' first major league start on television and said he was immediately impressed with the left-hander. But after the Montreal nightmare, the 72-year-old manager decided the time was right to have a discussion with the prodigy.

 

``He just told me to relax and have some fun, take starts like they were just another game in Double-A,'' Willis said. ``He told me to find my comfort zone and it hit home. Basically, he explained things in their simplest form and it's worked so far, so I'll keep going with it.''

 

McKeon said Willis simply wasn't trusting his pitches, a pratfall that often plagues young pitchers.

 

``He wasn't being aggressive and he wasn't going after hitters,'' McKeon said. ``It's not a big deal. Now he's not afraid to do those things. And you can see he's got a real bright future.''

 

His last start may have been his best. Willis, an Oakland native, threw seven shutout innings against his hometown team Thursday, leading the Marlins to a 2-0 victory _ the first time the Athletics have been shut out this season.

 

``He's got great stuff and pretty good command,'' Oakland manager Ken Macha said. ``And he shows lots of life and energy on the mound.''

 

In the Cubs trade, Florida sent Antonio Alfonseca and Matt Clement to Chicago, in return for Julian Tavarez and three minor leaguers _ Jose Cueto, Ryan Jorgensen and Willis.

 

At first, the trade looked lopsided. Tavarez went 10-12 with a 5.39 ERA last season, his only one with the Marlins, while Clement went 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA and 215 strikeouts for the Cubs.

 

Now, though, while Willis has flourished in Florida, Tavarez is 0-2 for Pittsburgh, Clement is struggling in Chicago and Alfonseca got hurt in spring training and lost his chance to be the Cubs' closer.

 

``This is a kid with a special future,'' McKeon said. ``He improves every time out. It's hard to remember he's pitched only five or six times in the major leagues.''

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Hey how's about those media and radio talkin heads give the team credit on a good deal. No I didn't think so, they would prefer to slam them before they get all the facts. Where are all those experts saying it was the worst deal ever.

 

"Now, though, while Willis has flourished in Florida, Tavarez is 0-2 for Pittsburgh, Clement is struggling in Chicago and Alfonseca got hurt in spring training and lost his chance to be the Cubs' closer."

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You are right, it looks like a great deal. He should be at phenom status in the press by now, but maybe everyone is kind of waiting for him to slump or something, dunno.

 

I just hope Dontrelle keeps it up and keeps it looking like a great deal for a couple of years.

 

I just can't figure how such a young kid with such awful mechanics goes out there and cleans up. It's great, though. Maybe we can sign him long-term before his contract is up or he is arbitration eligible in a year or two????

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Maybe we can sign him long-term before his contract is up or he is arbitration eligible in a year or two????

I think if he has a 3.00 ERA (give or take), more wins than losses, and more strikouts than innings by season end, they sign him 3-5 years and relitively cheap.

 

That's only smart baseball economics.

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I think if he has a 3.00 ERA (give or take), more wins than losses, and more strikouts than innings by season end, they sign him 3-5 years and relitively cheap.

 

That's only smart baseball economics.

 

So what you are saying then, Wildcard, is that if he keeps his ERA around 3, has more K's than IP and stays above .500 the Marlins probably won't sign him.

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He should be at phenom status in the press by now, but maybe everyone is kind of waiting for him to slump or something, dunno.

 

My point exactly, they didn't seem to mind coming out and saying all that junk, the bottomline is they rather eat there pens then write anything good about the front office. They hate Loria and co. and would rather see him fail.

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Guest markotsay7

I think if he has a 3.00 ERA (give or take), more wins than losses, and more strikouts than innings by season end, they sign him 3-5 years and relitively cheap.

Wins and losses have nothing to do with anything...that depends on the team who is playing behind the pitcher.

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I think if he has a 3.00 ERA (give or take), more wins than losses, and more strikouts than innings by season end, they sign him 3-5 years and relitively cheap.

Wins and losses have nothing to do with anything...that depends on the team who is playing behind the pitcher. I see your point, but if he manages to wind up anywhere near .500 by the end of the season he's proven himself. Remember, the Marlins are going to look like a High School reunion after the roster expansion in Sept. He will have no one behind him.

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