Though he burst onto the scene years ago with the rookie of the year honor and a couple of near Cy-Young Award seasons, Dontrelle Willis has become one of the pitchers that didn’t pitch well for long. Within just a few years of his monstrous debut he was scratching to get a few outs in a row. Now the Los Angeles Angels are giving him a chance to work his way back to the majors since 2011. It’s a good time and a good move for them to make.
It seems like forever ago when Willis was on fire for the Miami Marlins (then Florida Marlins) but he is still barely over 30 years old. The 2011 season was a bad one in limited time with the Cincinnati Reds and the last triple-A stint was last season with the affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. That was disastrous as well with an ERA of 8.53. So why is it a good move to sign him to a minor league deal?
There are a few reasons actually. One of them is that once a pitcher throws as well as Willis did, you always know that it could come back at some point. Since he is only just over 30, that time could still happen and he could have another decade left. It’s happened before and it will happen again. The Angels are gambling that it’ll happen now but it really won’t lose them anything if he bombs out.
His numbers are good in the independent league this year with a 2.57 ERA over 14 starts. His strikeout per nine innings number is just under six and his control has been better. Once he gets back in the MLB minor league system, the ERA could balloon up once again. There is a chance however that he could be on the verge of a nice comeback. What a great move this will be by the Angels if he does finally have the magic in that arm once again. It could happen.