Angels, Detmers A Match Made In Heaven
Angels scouting director Matt Swanson typically stays away from scouting college baseball’s biggest conferences early in the season, preferring to wait until they get deeper into conference play and start matching up against each other. But, on March 6, when he surveyed the day’s schedule, he was drawn to Louisville’s series opener at Wake Forest, with lefthander Reid Detmers starting for the Cardinals.
On a cold night in Winston-Salem, N.C., Detmers was dominant. He struck out 15 batters in six scoreless innings and Swanson couldn’t help but come away impressed.
A week later, the decision looked to be even more fortuitous as the coronavirus pandemic forced the season to be canceled.
“Four to five days later, everything shut down,” Swanson said. “I was fortunate and glad to catch his last start when more often than not, I would have gone another direction.”
Over the next couple months, the Angels and Detmers were frequently linked to each other in predraft reports. Swanson said the pairing made sense for both sides and Detmers said he also felt comfortable every time he talked with the club.
"When I talked to them, we got along very well," he said. "It felt right, everybody had the right idea, everything just felt good talking to them. After I left their phone calls, it was one of those feelings like that’s where you want to end up."
Wednesday, in the first round of the draft, it is where Detmers ended up. The Angels selected the lefthander 10th overall.
Detmers said it was a moment he’ll never forget.
“It was very exciting, very heartwarming, a lot of emotions,” Detmers said. “It’s kind of hard to explain. During the moment you black out and can’t remember anything. It was a very cool moment.”
Detmers has built a long track record of success at Louisville, where he went 16-6, 3.53 over three seasons. Over the last two seasons, as the Cardinals’ ace, he struck out 210 batters in 129.1 innings, fooling hitters with his low-90s fastball and big curveball.
Detmers’ combination of overall polish and solid stuff across the board has many evaluators—and Detmers himself—thinking he could move quickly through the minor leagues. That ability is part of the reason why Swanson said the Angels were drawn to him.
“The curveball is a separator for him,” Swanson said. “His pitches, the way he uses them, they build upon themselves. His feel and moxie for pitching, the sum of his parts is greater than the whole. The curveball is his bread and butter but to see swing-and-miss on his fastball up and down in the zone, the development of his changeup and a slider/cutter he’s working on.”
Detmers said he has been active since the season ended. He has a set of weights at his house and has been able to work out, as well as continuing to throw. He said he’s ready to jump back into action.
“I’ve been able to throw ‘pens, been able to play catch,” he said. “I’ve been keeping my body in shape, keeping my arm in shape and preparing for the future.”