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Willis Slighted by TSN

Marlins Bandit

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In this week's Sporting News they gave a scouting report on Dontrelle. They sounded nice then knocked him at the end I feel. Here is what they said:


Dontrelle Willis, LHP, Marlins


Height: 6-4 Weight: 200

2003: Was 4-1 with a 3.00 ERA in his first five starts after being called up from Class AA.

Last year: Was 12-2 with a 1.82 ERA in Class A.

Throws: Fastball (four-seamer, sinker and cutter), slider, backdoor curve and changeup.

Velocity: His cutter brushes 94 mph, his four-seamer consistently is in the low 90s, and his sinker, which he does not throw as much as he should, touches 91. His hard-breaking slider also reaches 91.

Command (on a 1-10 scale): 7

Greatest Strength: He has good command of three pitches-a quality cutter, a backdoor breaking ball and a hard slider.

Pitching tendencies: Because of his low three-quarters/sidearm motion, he should be tough on lefties. His slider has quality tilt and bite. His 2-8 backdoor breaking ball projects as a quality pitch, although his command of it must improve. He uses a backdoor slider as an out pitch against lefhanders. His slider is more effective against lefthanders. It has more consistent velocity than the one thrown by the Cubs' Matt Clement (one of the pitchers the Marlins traded to obtain Willis), but the pitch's tilt is not as good as Clement's. Willis also features an above-average diving changeup that could become a plus pitch. If his mechanics and command imprive, he will have three plus pitches and two above-average ones. Right now, his best life is on the cutter and slider. He takes minimal time between pitches, and that helps his defense. He pitches far better from the windup. He has plus arm strength with good wrist pop.

Areas of concern: A violent, stiff front-leg delivery and hios reliance on cutters and breaking balls leave him vulnerable to arm injury and diminishes his command from the stretch. He occasionally gets under his backdoor breaking ball, causing it to roll. He slings the ball. his tendency to "wrap" his wrist and hitch after he breaks his hands will limit the development of a 12-6 curveball. During his delivery, he raises his glove much higher when throwing his hard slider or backdoor breaking ball, which tips his pitches to hitters.

Bottom Line: With maturity, experience and better mechanics, he projects as a No. 3 starter for a championship-caliber club, or a No. 2 starter for an average-or below average club. He does not project to have the stability, mechanics, or overall mound prescence to be a No. 2 starter for a championship club.

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A number 2 starter for an average or below average club? His mechanics haven't failed him at all yet, so that isn't really an area of concern. Right now he has been an ACE. If he keeps pitching like this and matures more and more, he could eventually be a number one starter for a lot of clubs...

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