Reid Detmers dazzled in his first season in the majors. His 7-6 record didn’t tell the whole story of his 2022 campaign. Detmers had a 3.77 ERA, 1.209 WHIP, 3.79 FIP, and 78 strikeouts in 71 innings over his final 13 outings. All of this was highlighted by his no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Looking to build off his strong end to the season, here are some takeaways from the first two innings of his first start of 2023 that could lead to a breakout 2023 season.
Takeaways from Reid Detmers’ First Start
3: His Quick Pace
His quick pace is the first takeaway from his spring debut. One thing that all pitchers and hitters have to adjust to is the pitch clock. Pitchers have 20 seconds to pitch, and batters must be ready with eight seconds left on the clock.
All baseball players have a mini routine before every pitch; now, this new pitch clock has limited that. Detmers had no issues with it. In this day and age of slowing the game down, it is trying to put more baseball in less time. Reid, at least based on his first start, no problems.
The fast pace from Detmers and baseball will mean that fielders will be close, ready, and, most importantly, more baseball in less time. This is great for both him and the team. Sometimes these adjustments can take time, and fighting muscle memory and old habits are incredibly difficult. Detmers having this pace out of the gate is a massive plus.
Number 2: The Sharpness of the Slider
Generally, the first outing of the spring is a lot of finding the handles on the breaking pitches. Detmers’ tour yesterday showed he was ready with that breaking pitch right out of the gate.
Old school thinking has always been “work off of the fastball to set up everything else.” As things have evolved, some don’t live by that rule anymore. His slider was his second most-thrown pitch at 25%, with an average velocity of around 86 miles per hour.
Detmers changed that grip last year after returning to AAA Salt Lake City. This change allowed him to throw it a bit harder. His manager Phil Nevin even said he saw improvement
“You watch his bullpens, you watch his work. You see his body. He’s noticeably gained some mass in his body. Remember, he’s 23 years old. He’s still growing. And from what I’ve seen in his ‘pens this spring, the velocity, the movement on his slider, and the slider’s velocity is where we got it to last year, and even a couple of ticks above.”
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Detmers’ slider was on the slower side last year; if he can get that pitcher and maintain the uptick in velocity for the entirety of the season, he can do great things. In 2022, Detmers’ slider had a put-away percentage of 22%, according to MLB Statcast.
Number 1: The Mentality
Reid said his mentality is different post-game since he isn’t competing for a spot in the rotation. Coming into camp with that security allows him to focus on working on things during the games and less on his results.
Detmers said, “Last year, I didn’t know what was gonna happen,” Detmers said. “Every start, every outing was a decent amount of pressure. Now I can just kind of relax a little bit, kind of just get my work in, and just have fun.”
Does anything of this mean he will be a Cy Young candidate? Probably not. However, the more relaxed nature of coming into camp, knowing he has a spot locked in the Angels rotation, means, like he even said, he can focus on the process and not the result.
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