What happened to Dontrelle Willis? The D-Train! You know him! Twenty-two wins in 2005, a title in 2003! Kid struck out 170 batters in 2005 and seemed like he would ride high forever.
But then came 2006. Control issues led to leading the league in hits batsmen and a .500 record.
Then Willis, 27, was traded to the Detroit Tigers. What happened?
Some blamed the fact that he was under pressure to perform at the plate. Willis was known for his success at the plate during his NL tenure, including a grand slam in 2006. However, come his move to the AL and he still didn’t perform.
Me? I think it was pressure in general.
In Florida he was touted as the newest ace in town. The best yet! A 22-game winner and World Series champ. Maybe pressure to perform got to him.
Pressure hit A-Rod and maybe even CC (Although CC being under pressure is questionable at this point.)
In Detroit, Willis was half of Detroit’s offseason pride. Now Willis is attempting to rebuild in Single-A ball and on the DL for anxiety, which may prove my point.
Why should we care about Willis?
He is just one of hundreds struggling to perform. The reason I give is simple: Potential.
His 2005 season proves it. Even during his bad seasons, he showed what he could do.
My solution is simple. Either one he goes Rick Ankiel or two he gets out of Detroit.
Rick Ankiel remade himself as a hitter after suffering similar issues and Willis already shows he can hit.
If Willis likes pitching too much my second choice would fit him.
See Detroit is not known for their great pitching coaches in recent years. See 2008 and early 2009 Justin Verlander.
However, a team like the Red Sox is world renown for their pitching program as Junichi Tazawa stated it was one of the reasons he signed with the Red Sox in the winter.
If done correctly Willis could once again be the golden child he was thought to be early in his career.
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