Skip to content

Still waiting for Ross to blossom

Aug 11, 2011, 4:55 AM EST

Associated Press photo
Ross Detwiler allowed three runs over five innings in the Nats’ 4-2 loss.

CHICAGO — Ross Detwiler has started 22 big-league games over the last three seasons. It’s not nearly a large enough sample size to make a definitive call on the left-hander’s ability to pitch at this level. Yet it’s also not an insignificant number of outings in which to draw some conclusions about the 25-year-old.

Facts are facts, and after suffering a 4-2 loss to the Cubs Wednesday night, Detwiler now sports a career 3-11 record and 5.03 ERA in those 22 starts.

Has he been the victim of poor run support, as was the case Wednesday when his teammates managed one earned run off retread Chicago starter Rodrigo Lopez? Sure.

Has he also been bounced back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen, the major leagues and Class AAA, making it difficult to develop a routine and comfort level with his situation? Yes.

Because of all that, the Nationals remain enticed by what Detwiler
Read more

  1. Anonymous - Aug 11, 2011 at 5:28 AM

    >>>The other guy is Garrett Mock, now toiling away at Class AA.<<<Mock's in AAA now and he's relieving, not starting anymore.

  2. SilverSpring8 - Aug 11, 2011 at 6:10 AM

    Detwiler is an AAAA pitcher in the same class as Stammen, Ballester or Mock. They wear out a path between Syracuse and Washington and show you just enough potential to drive you nuts looking for consistent results. Going back a little further, I'd also put Chico, Atilano, Bergmann and the perpetually injured Shawn Hill in this group.

  3. NatsLady - Aug 11, 2011 at 6:19 AM

    Honestly, I sometimes think Davey decides in advance which games he's going to win, and which not, and in the "nots" he puts in his projects. Now, of his (and Rizzo's projects)1) Chien Ming Wang — I have a good feeling on him. Watching him in person, he is a cool customer, thoughtful and careful, even to the point of slow (what if the umps ever enforced the 12 second rule on pitchers?). Not easily ruffled, yet with a glimmer of humor–as when he fielded the sacrifice bunt. He doesn't make the same mistake twice. Also, he hit a nice long one.2. Ross Detwiler — don't have a good feeling on him. I know he's young and "inexperienced" (compared to Wang), but he's not THAT young and not that inexperienced. It's not only his physical stamina, it's also mental. Too many mistakes, even when he shouldn't be tired. Not that razor sharp focus you need in the majors.3. Balester — how many tries do you get?4. Hot Rod — we had the good Henry today. So YOU get another try…5. Flores — gotta keep pluggin', man, cause Pudge ain't comin' back soon.

  4. Drew8 - Aug 11, 2011 at 7:02 AM

    I never really considered Mock a Nats farmhand. I know he's been around awhile, but the Nats acquired him with Matt Chico when they dealt Livo to the Diamondbacks. They didn't draft and develop the guy.I still think Detwiler has promise. He's not throwing across his body like he used to and he's hitting 92 on the gun. Keep him in the rotation and see if he can get up to seven innings.(But that hit by the pitcher was ugly.)

  5. Drew8 - Aug 11, 2011 at 7:13 AM

    P.S.This year Detwiler has a 3.20 ERA in 25.1 innings pitched.Wang has a 3.60 ERA in 15 innings pitched.Both have shown flashes. Let's see what they've got.

  6. Jeeves - Aug 11, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    To put Detwiler in the same class as Stammen, Atilano, and Chico is ridiculous. Ballestet makes sence but the forever injured Hill has nothing in common.I still remember Detwiler's terrific September in 2009. That was just before his injury issues.

  7. Anonymous - Aug 11, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    Comparing this game to his last start I saw much more command except for the 4th inning. The rest of the season is very important for him to establish consistent performances and start to pitch deeper into the games.

  8. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 11, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    I thought Ross got squeezed several times on the inside pitch to right handers. That's a pitch he needs to be consistent. That and stay out of the heart of the plate.AT any rate, for those that compare him to Stammen, Balester and Mock, the fact that he's left handed and they are right handed means he'll have a much longer leash to prove himself.But, like Anonymous 6:53, I also need to see much more improvement over the next 6 weeks before banishing him to the bull pen.

  9. sunderland - Aug 11, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    The big picture – It really does not matter what Detwiler does the rest of this year. If he stinks it up or rocks it out, he's still going to come to camp next year with a chance to earn a spot in the April rotation. Nothing he does over the next 6 weeks is going to change that.But it would be real nice if he pitched well three times through an MLB lineup a few times.

  10. NatsLady - Aug 11, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    sunderland, you make a good point. So what is Detwiler doing out there, just getting major-league experience as a starter? Not that I'm against getting experience, just that it puts things in a different perspective. In that view, each game is NOT an "audition" for Detwiler.

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 11, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    You are correct in your assessment, sunderland. But the determination on how much of a chance will depend alot on this 6 week audition.Remember, Ross felt he earned a spot last Spring Training but was shipped to Syracuse. He showed he could perform in his Spring Training opportunity but has yet to show it on the big stage.

  12. NatsLady - Aug 11, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    I know I'm late to the discussion about next year's line-up, but I think we are blowing smoke if we think can project it based on today's information. Last year at this time (when the PADRES were in first place, and the D-BACKS were in last place by a lot!) our starting lineup wasBernadina (in lineup for 2011 but now demoted)Desmond ZimmermanDunn (free agent, not re-signed)Willingham (traded)MorseI. Rodriquez (in lineup for 2011 but now injured)A. Kennedy (free agent, not re-signed)So there are three position players from August 10, 2010 who started the game on August 10, 2011 — Desmond, Morse and RZimm.Our record was 49-62, and we lost a game that day to– the Florida Marlins. Some guy named Stephen Strasburg took the loss.

  13. natsfan1a - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    Have been out of town since last Friday and am woefully behind in all things Nats. Was able to check on whether they'd won or lost but that's about it.Was happy to see that Wang had notched his first win since coming back. Good for him. Was there any crow on the Insider commenter menu that day? ;-)Did get to watch some baseball on Wednesday night. Was in CA and caught the late innings of an A's game and all of a Giants game (both on tv). The Hammer was a hero in the A's game, having clubbed a tater. The broadcast team was commenting as to how fans were glad that he'd not been traded before the non-waiver deadline. Also noticed via a Giants broadcast graphic that Espinosa was among the league leaders for second baseman, in rbi if memory serves.In other news, I'd purchased P-Nats tix last week and see that I've evidently won the SS sweepstakes. Hope to get there early enough to snag my Desi bobble, particularly seeing as how there will likely be a big crowd. Am looking forward to watching some baseball and possibly moving down to better seats after the SS fans all leave. Wish that they'd drawn such crowds for the P-nats playoff games back in the day. Oh well. 😉

  14. JD - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Nats Lady, All good points. I do however feel that our rotation for next year is coming into focus. SS,JZ and LaNnen are pretty much assured spots assuming they are healthy. I think that CMW is the big unknown; if he looks like he's most of the way back we should try to lock him up for 1 year at about 4 to 5 mil with a a mutual option for a 2nd year at 5 to 6 mil. This leaves 1 spot for Detwiler, Milone and Peacock to compete for.The good news is that there is no need for a Marquis or Gorzelany. I would bring Livo back for the long relief job.

  15. Gonat - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Remember, Ross felt he earned a spot last Spring Training but was shipped to Syracuse. He showed he could perform in his Spring Training opportunity but has yet to show it on the big stage. August 11, 2011 8:10 AM______________________Ross performed well in Spring Training and keep in mind what Spring Training is. The 1st pitcher gets 3 innings against the probable Major League guys. The 2nd pitcher comes in for 3 innings against fringe players and some AA types in early Spring Training until cuts are made.Detwiler was pitching 3 innings and knew he was pitching 3 innings. He could go all out and in the end he was facing AAA calibre players and some Major Leaguers.Rizzo made the right move sending him to Syracuse to stretch him out to see if he could pitch 7+ innings. The results weren't great in Syracuse.He gets moved to the Nats bullpen and starts throwing 95 to 96 with movement and looks like a different pitcher.Now Mark compared Det to Mock. I spoke to Mock in Syracuse and he is at a different point in his life then Detwiler. 3 kids now under the age of 4 and he is embracing this new challenge as a reliever. He has faced injuries and had 4 disastrous games as a starter this season in Syracuse and only 3 as a reliever there and so far so good. No earned runs. Its only been a week and a 1/2 since the changeover so too early to tell. Most relievers are born out of starters and Drew Storen is the rarity of a 1st rounder who was drafted as a reliever.Clippard is the Nats best example of the promising young starter in the Yankees system that just couldn't make it work. Now he is an All Star and one of the best in the MLB.Just wondering, has anyone asked Detwiler what he wants to do?

  16. NatsLady - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    @JD: yes, I agree we have more focus on the rotation than the position players or the bullpen. There are so many unknowns in those areas. After the playoffs, and in the winter meetings, a lot can happen. Definitely agree on Wang. Hopefully, Livo will be happy with long relief; he can be our next "Miss Iowa," a flexible and fun guy in the bullpen.

  17. jd - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Gonat, No young pitcher will knowingly pick to be a reliever unless he has no choice; this is strictly economics. Most relievers don't earn as much as starters. This does not mean that the Nats shouldn't make the best decision from a team point of view. As far as Mock is concerned it's always been about command. If he can throw his pitches where he wants to he can absolutely be an excellent reliever. This is also why you should always trade a reliever for an everyday player because relievers are fairly easy to develop compared to everyday position players. Your point about spring training is excellent and I cautioned all the posters to take ST results with a grain of salt because you are mixing all levels of players and different players use ST for different purposes (preparation vs. competition).

  18. Anonymous8 - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    "After the playoffs, and in the winter meetings, a lot can happen."A lot always happens. It is the teams that get the impact players that will determine improvement. The wrong players on long term contracts can have a long negative effect.The team the Nats are facing is proof negative of that. Soriano on a 8 year cash heavy deal and trading away top prospects for Garza have impacted their direction.

  19. JD - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    Here are my thoughts regarding the Zimmerman/Rendon scenarios. 1)Best case scenario – We sign Zimmerman to a 5 year extension; sign Rendon and start him in Potomac or Harrisburg and then trade him a year later for an established center fielder. 2)2nd scenario – Develop Rendon as a 3rd baseman and trade Zimmerman for a bushel of top notch prospects. 3)3rd scenario – Develop Rendon as a 2nd baseman and move Espinosa to short. 4)4th scenario – Develop Rendon as an outfielder to go with Harper and Werth. 5)5th Scenario – Develop Rendon as a 3rd baseman, sign Zim and move him to 1st base. Thoughts?

  20. Anonymous8 - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    JD/Gonat, great points across the board. Spring Training and September callups don't always give the true results.Young starters are motivated by the big contracts which relief pitchers generally won't achieve. More teams are making the decisions for them like the Braves, Royals, and Rays have done. A great bullpen like the Braves have shown is sometimes as good as holding pocket Aces!

  21. Anonymous8 - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    JD, I like #4 or #5 although #1 could work. Best value to get off of Rendon is showing that he is the best hitter out of that Draft so getting him in the Nats lineup sooner than later can help in all those scenarios. The kid still hasn't swung a MLB bat.

  22. NatinBeantown - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    JD, if Wang looks most of the way back, is 2 years/$9-11M the right number?Here are some of this year's FA deals. If he's "most of the way back," he'll get more guaranteed money than Webb did…Webb 1yr/$3M + incentives to $8-10MLilly 3yr/$33MArroyo 3yr/$35MDe la Rosa 2yr/$25MGarland 1yr/$5M + $8M 2012 club option

  23. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    Question: When do you know your career is shot?Answer: When you start to get compared with Garrett Mock.I'm off the Det boat. This guy is AAAA, at best. The one thing he has in common with Mock? That same goofy, out-of-it blank stare. Never seems to learn from any mistakes. He's the Larry Broadway of pitchers.

  24. Unkyd - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    Zim at 1B makes no sense to me.

  25. Big Cat - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    Ross's start wasn't that bad last night. He has had a lot worse. With a little run support he could of even had a "5 and fly" W. As NatLady said earlier, focus is key with him. And as Jack said…."stay out of the middle of the plate." His location is there about half the time, and that don't cut it in the bigs. Look at HRod. He brings it at 96-100 and they are on it if it isn't located. Next time Lannan pitches watch the catchers mitt and watch his pitch. Bang…right there. Detwiler throws 2 good pitches, then one bad. If a hitter is patient, eventually Det is gonna give him that meat right down the middle. And don't forget, hitters watch film of these pitchers. Well, the opposing hitters anyway. The way our hitters flail at pitches out of the zone, I don't think they watch anything

  26. Big Cat - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    …..and then you bring in Balester. He just throws for the zone….anywhere in the zone, with a curve that bounces most of the time. I was just waiting for one to fly out of the park and sure enough it did.

  27. Anonymous - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    JD, why would the Nats consider moving Espinosa to short? He hasn't hit well enough to break up what has become an outstanding middle infield and there isn't any reason to think he would be an improvement over Desmond defensively. Desmond's improvement in the field from 2010 and his recent improvement at the plate should end, for now at least, any thought of replacing him with Espinosa.

  28. Big Cat - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    Hmmmmmm…..that could be a good trade package. Det and Balester for…oh…an A ball outfielder or something. Man, I gotta be more positive. The big picture is that the Nats are only 4 games under .500. They are very competitive every night, and J-Zim is gonna beat the Cubbies 2-1 today in less than 2 hours to take the series and then we head to Philly to kick some butt!

  29. NatsLady - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    The most talented pitcher to develop as a starter (hate me now!) is HotRod. Obviously, before you can "stretch" him out as a starter, he has to get his control. But he's the one that's going to go the other direction, from reliever to starter, and if he makes it, it will be great to see. Since we can't send him down, and won't get much in a trade, I say, hold your stomach, hold your breath, and keep going for it.

  30. NatsLady - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    Anon @10:27 — the reason people propose moving Espi to short is to trade Desi and put some other star at 2nd. Not saying that's a good idea, just saying we don't have a good SS in the system, but we do have some 2B candidates.

  31. Anonymous8 - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    @Big Cat said… "Ross's start wasn't that bad last night. He has had a lot worse."That wasn't a start, that's called decent long relief. He should have been pulled at the end of 4 for a pinch hitter. When Flores got that gift hit that back spinned its way to freedom, the Nats had something going. The score was 2-1 at that point. The positive for Detwiler was how he handled Starlin Castro to end the 4th and get out of that jam. Davey was none to pleased that he threw a changeup to the pitcher Lopez who hit it to centerfield for a single.Soriano's RBI hit off of Detwiler was a bleeder on a decent pitch. The ump squeezed Detwiler from what I saw on pitch track and Rodrigo Lopez got many borderline pitches.

  32. A DC Wonk - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Unkyd said… Zim at 1B makes no sense to me.Why not? (After all, isn't the only flaw Zim has is his sometimes unreliable throwing).Ernie Banks made that transition (from SS to 1b) pretty well! (although, at age 31)

  33. NatsLady - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    Well, and he hits into double-plays. But he's always done that and probably 1B or 3B won't matter. :))))

  34. Big Cat - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    Anon8…..good points. My opinion on Det has always been as a long reliever or situational lefty. I think he could be pretty good, dropping down with a 3 quarter, 2 seam fastball. And yes….he still throws across his body, which could make him even tougher. Knowing he would only have to face 1 or 2 hitters, his velocity would probably improve also. I think the fact that he is a #1 draft pick has a lot to do with him still in the starters roleNatLady… thoughts exactly on "Hotrod" Give him the ball as a starter and keep the children away front the railings behind the backstop. Who knows? Look at Nolan Ryan

  35. Anonymous - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    No surprise. He didn't pitch that great at Syracuse. His best bet is to convert to a long reliever because he's only decent for three innings.

  36. Big Cat - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    Next years starters:StrasburgZimmermanHRodWangPeacock/Milone/Gorzo/Free AgentThat would be a lot of gas coming off the mound!

  37. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Big Cat… Where is LannEn going?

  38. Anonymous8 - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    Big Cat, what did you pour in your Coffey? No Lannen? HRod as a starter? You think Wang is really going to end up here? Why not throw CC Sabathia in your rotation. And you are moving Zimmerman from 3rd to pitcher?

  39. Big Cat - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Oooops…..yes….put Lannan in as the #3 starter. Not a knock on him, just forgot about him. Darn, and I was just talking good about him too

  40. Anonymous8 - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    "Big Cat said… Anon8…..good points. My opinion on Det has always been as a long reliever or situational lefty. I think he could be pretty good, dropping down with a 3 quarter, 2 seam fastball. And yes….he still throws across his body, which could make him even tougher. Knowing he would only have to face 1 or 2 hitters, his velocity would probably improve also. I think the fact that he is a #1 draft pick has a lot to do with him still in the starters roleAugust 11, 2011 11:06 AM"Exactly. I liked the suggestion of being O'Flaherty to Venters and Kimbrell creating a Dynamic Trio.Steve's numbers a few days ago on what this bullpen has given up side-by-side to the Braves was an eye opener. The Nats starters can be better than Atlanta next year with a productive Strasburg.On your other note, HenRod can't be sent to the Minors to re-tool as a starter so doubt it is doable. Also, he isn't throwing near 100 consistently any more.

  41. Anonymous8 - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    Big Cat, John Lannen's family appreciates that.ZimmermannStrasburgLannenChris CarpenterMiloneThe crazy thing is nobody is projecting Detwiler at all. Gorzelanny is under team control for 2012 also.

  42. Anonymous8 - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    I would like to get Burlhe here to be a #3. Just doubt it will happen.This is playoff quality.ZimmermannStrasburgBurlheLannenMilone

  43. Gonat - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    Steve M. said… he is a well kept secret outside of Washington and that may be a good thing! BEAST MODE! August 10, 2011 1:39 PM ____________________________This was such a true statement you made yesterday about Michael Morse. Under the radar and a well kept secret was a good thing.Morse goes on the MLB Network yesterday and MASN pre-game and voila, poof, a lousy 0-4 night with a strikeout although that crazy error was fun to watch.He should also consider changing Tshirts. Just sayin….

  44. Big Cat - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    Anon8….my Starters for Next Year was kind of tongue in cheek. I know to get HRod to be a successful starter would be like hitting the lottery. But you gotta admit, with Stra, Zimm and Lannan as 1-2-3, it is beginning to take a very good shape. I also look for Rizzo to shake the trees and see what apples fall out. Washington is not as barren a place to come to for free agents as it used to be. NatsJack…..any good free agent pitchers coming out next year that we could snap up?

  45. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    I'm in Anon8's corner on Buerhle but not real hopefull. Jackpot would be Sabathia but the Lerners would be a whole lot poorer should that happen. I don't see a whole lot left in Carpenter.Not much out there after that. 2013 has more possibilties.

  46. Big Cat - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    You see Harpers ejection. Love him or hate him, the kid has moxy…..intensity too. I love it

  47. Anonymous - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    gotta get some bats in the line up. If Morse and Zimm are off one night we can't win

  48. A DC Wonk - Aug 11, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    Big Cat said… You see Harpers ejection. Love him or hate him, the kid has moxy…..intensity too. I love itBig Cat — fill us in!

  49. natsfan1a - Aug 11, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    Wonk, see the new post for video and Mark's story.

  50. Mark'd - Aug 11, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    Atlanta has Juerggens and Beachy. Derek Lowe is as inconsistent as Livan and Hudson is aging.I agree with Anons8 on going up against the Braves in bullpen as the Nats rotation will be better.Buerhle will be playoffs. Sabathia could be NL East.

  51. fpcsteve - Aug 11, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    Nats Jack, I saw Detwiler for the first time last night. What's your take on his stuff? And to what degree is he a nibbler? I had that impression at times last night. Steve M., you, too, if you'd like.

  52. Unkyd - Aug 11, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    A DC Wonk said…Unkyd said…Zim at 1B makes no sense to me.Why not? (After all, isn't the only flaw Zim has is his sometimes unreliable throwing).Ernie Banks made that transition (from SS to 1b) pretty well! (although, at age 31)Just seems like wasting resources, to me. We seem to be knee-deep in good 1st basemen. If what we've seen from the Gorse Hacker, this year, is what're get for the next 5 years, then Zom represents no upgrade, whatsoever. LaRoche, Marerro….. We're at least 2 years away grime being comfortable enough with Rendon to call him a fit replacement for Zim. Seriously….? I'd trade Zim , before I'd shake up whats turning out to be a respectable line-up. If RZ gets extended, this winter, give Rendon that big ol' outfielders glove, and give him a whole year to see if it's a easy transition for him…should'nt be too hard to bring h back to the infield, in fall/winter ball, if he doesn't have the aptitude. See, I think that the offensive lineup might be pretty well set, if Rendon can play in the outfield, come '13. If Desi doesn't shake out, as startingSS, you have Lombo (let's see that cup of coffee, please!), and Bernie and Desi, off the bench. Yep, making some assumptions here, but none of it seems far-fetched, to me, and by the end of next year, it should have, for the most part, played out. If I'm close, thepnly thing to worry about next winter, would be choosing grime the bumper crop of FA pitchers…A fella can dream…. No?

  53. Anonymous - Aug 11, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    @bigcat, thats a fantastic idea. lets have henry rodriguez be our #3 starter, and remove lannen from the rotation entirely, creating a great element of surprise. while we're at let's have luis atillano replace strasburg as our #1 (we can make ss our closer and trade storen-imagine how fast stras can throw out of the bullpen!), jd martin replace jzimmm as our #2,(obviously hrod as #3- no brainer there), craig stammen as our #4, and the promising prospect they call atahualpa severino as our #5! thats close to the phillies rotation right there

  54. Big Cat - Aug 11, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    Another anonydick has spoken

  55. Anonymous - Aug 11, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    yes, because there is nothing anonymous about the name "Big cat"





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter