The Angels took the safer route in the 2020 draft. They used the 10th overall pick on Louisville lefthander Reid Detmers, who was probably the most polished pitcher in the entire draft but didn’t even have the best fastball on his college team.
Louisville teammate Bobby Miller’s arsenal was far more electric, and the Dodgers selected the righthander with the 29th overall pick.
Detmers, who signed for $4.67 million, may have a lower ceiling than Miller, but the 6-foot-2, 210-pound southpaw rocketed from the team’s alternate training site in 2020 to the big leagues in 2021 and is poised to challenge for a rotation spot this spring.
The only Angels prospect to crack the Top 100 Prospects, Detmers, ranked 28th, was dominant at Double-A Rocket City last season, posting a 3.50 ERA in 12 starts, striking out 97 and walking 18 across 54 innings.
In two starts for Triple-A Salt Lake, he struck out 11 and walked one in eight innings, before being called up to the big leagues, where he was roughed up for a 7.40 ERA in five starts.
But Detmers, 22, showed promise with a six-inning, one-run effort in an Aug. 15 win against the Astros. He was placed on the Covid-19 injured list on Aug. 25 and didn’t return until the season finale.
Detmers came out of college with excellent command of a low-90s fastball and a big-breaking, mid-70s curveball. But the velocity of his fastball ticked up to an average of 93 mph with a high of 95 mph last season, and his upper-80s slider, a hard breaker that barrels down and in on righthanded hitters, emerged as a weapon.
Hitters often have a hard time pulling the trigger on the curve, especially when he tunneled it off his riding, high-spin fastball. Detmers’ improving 79-83 mph changeup is most effective against righthanders.
Detmers could eventually pitch his way into a frontline role, but because he lacks an overpowering fastball, most scouts project him as a mid-rotation or No. 4 starter.