Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post wrote today that former first round draft pick, Ross Detwiler, has changed his delivery in hopes to have a stronger 2011:
“Ross Detwiler, the sixth overall pick of the 2007 draft, has altered his mechanics, throwing more in line rather than bringing his front leg over his back leg during his delivery. The change is noticeable, and Nationals officials agree that it's made a significant difference in his pitches. One of them called Detwiler, "the best guy out here wearing a uniform."
The change was made to prevent further injury to the hip that Detwiler was forced to undergo surgery on early last spring. That surgery was devastating for Detwiler, who entered spring 2010 seriously hoping to make a big impact on the Nationals rotation in what he thought would be his first full major league season.
2009 saw the then 23-year-old sprint to the majors after stellar campaigns in Double and Triple A. In 16 minor league starts he posted a 3.05 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 76.2 innings pitched. His major league debut did not go quite as smoothly that year, where he posted a measly 1-6 record with a 5.00 ERA. However, there were signs for hope. In his14 starts he posted a solid 3.86 FIP, a sign that he likely suffered from a very lackluster Nationals defense.
From the reports out of Viera, the new delivery sounds to have rejuvenated an arm that was considered one of the best among young starters in the minor leagues. With less pressure on his hip, the now 25-year-old Detwiler may finally be poised to reach his full major league potential.
That being said, it’s early and the Nationals pitchers haven’t been pitching in live game situations yet. It still amazes me how many pitchers make careers off of being able to impress in bullpen sessions. Guys like Daniel Cabrera comes to mind. But good stuff does not equal quality pitching. If Detwiler wants to become an effective starter he must learn to locate his pitches better, he must limit mistakes, and he must be able to throw multiple pitches at multiple times in the count.
The good news is that a cleaner delivery can help Detwiler focus on these weak points mechanically, and experience will help him learn to manufacture outs.