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Young Pitcher Symposium: Dontrelle Willis

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AP Photo

Similar Pitchers by Sim Score

  1. George Van Haltren (984)
  2. Juan Pizzaro (979)
  3. Pete Falcone (977)
  4. Steve Trout (976)
  5. Tom Underwood (976)
  6. Johnny Kucks (975)
  7. Vinegar Bend Mizell (974)
  8. Don Robinson (973)
  9. Ross Grimsley (968)
  10. Frank Dwyer (966)
Other Comparables
Lefty Gomez
Jim Abbott
Juan Nieves
Marcelino Lopez
Britt Burns

Dontrelle Willis book grades:
2002 Minor League Scouting Notebook: Grade C, as a promising short-season pitcher in the Cubs system, showing good control but a below average strikeout rate.

2003 Baseball Prospect Book: Grade B+, coming to the Marlins in the Matt Clement trade. Grade improvement was due to excellent performance in full-season ball, including a better strikeout rate. I projected him as a future number two starter, although I must admit I did not expect him to pitch much in the Majors in '03.

Willis is one of my favorite pitchers to watch. There was some slippage in his numbers last year, including a reduced strikeout rate and deterioration in his H/IP, granted that can be a flukey stat and is heavily dependent on team context and luck. The 2005 Baseball Prospectus (which showed up in my mailbox on Friday) projects some bounceback in his numbers this year, although it also notes that given his weird mechanics and his workload at a young age, Willis is "not the safest bet" over the next year or two. Ron Shandler in his fine Baseball Forecaster also projects slight improvement in Willis' numbers, but also sounds a note of caution about his workload.

There are some good parallels in the comp list, although it also reflects the weaknesses in the basic Sim Score method. Van Haltren and Dwyer are 19th century guys that don't tell us much. Guys like Pizzaro and Falcone are better comparisons. Kucks and Robinson, being righthanders, really don't fit as comparables.