'Strong fit': Halos draft Louisville lefty Detmers

Polished pitcher ranked the No. 8 Draft prospect by MLB Pipeline

June 11th, 2020

The Angels filled a huge organizational need with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2020 Draft on Wednesday, as they selected University of Louisville left-hander Reid Detmers, who was considered the most polished lefty available in the Draft.

Detmers, ranked as the No. 8 prospect in this year’s Draft class by MLB Pipeline, is considered an old-school lefty who relies more on location and movement than velocity. His fastball can reach up to 94 mph and he commands it well to go along with a 72-76 mph curveball and a sinking changeup. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder has an easy repeatable delivery and a durable frame that should allow him to remain a starter.

“He was just a very, very strong fit for us,” Angels director of amateur scouting Matt Swanson said. “I think he has an opportunity to move at his own pace but in short order could have an impact for us.”

As Swanson said, the 20-year-old could be a fast riser in the system and MLB Network’s Al Leiter believes Detmers could reach the Majors by next year. The Angels have a plethora of athletic up-the-middle position players in their Minor League system but lack starting-pitching prospects considered near the Majors, so Detmers is a perfect fit for the organization. The pick carries a slot value of $4.74 million.

"I think I’m ready, but it’s not up to me, it’s up to the organization,” Detmers said. “I'm going to follow their guidelines and do what I need to do and hopefully get that call soon.”

The Angels have been following Detmers since his days at Glenwood High School in Chatham, Ill., and by coincidence Swanson saw Detmers’ final collegiate start in person at Wake Forest on March 6 before the season was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Detmers gave up four hits over six scoreless innings with 15 strikeouts despite pitching in cold and rainy conditions. After that outing, Swanson and the Angels' front office kept in contact with Detmers, including a few Zoom calls to get to know him better and ultimately thought he was the right pick.

“At the end of the day, this is exactly the type of player we want in our Minor League system,” Swanson said. “The unique thing about him is the way he uses his pitches. They build on themselves. He has a natural feel and moxie for pitching. The curveball is obviously a separator and his bread and butter, but you see the swings and misses he gets with his fastball up and down in the zone. He has his changeup and a slider/cutter he’s working on. That’s the exciting thing for me. For him to be able to command it all, it’s a pretty special package.”

Detmers dominated at the collegiate level, as he broke a school record with 167 strikeouts as a sophomore and tied the program's record with 13 wins while leading the Cardinals to the 2019 College World Series. He also was the best starter for Team USA’s Collegiate National Team, going 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in three starts. The coronavirus pandemic cut his junior season short this year, but he ranked second in Division I in strikeouts with 48 in just 22 innings while going 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA. In his three years at Louisville, he went 20-6 with a 3.20 ERA and 284 strikeouts, 73 walks and 21 homers allowed in 191 innings.

“He’s going to log innings, he’s going to get strikeouts, limit walks and get a lot of weak contact he’s going to be able to induce,” Swanson said. “And do it as a starter, which to me is exceedingly important. If you can acquire what you believe is about a sure-fire starter as you can, that’s a very attractive thing in a Draft.”

Detmers also has strong bloodlines, as his father, Kris, reached as high as Triple-A in the Cardinals’ system as a left-handed pitcher in the 1990s and his grandfather played college football. Detmers credits his dad for helping him develop as a pitcher, especially with the mental side of the game.

“He’s a huge influence,” Detmers said. “He’s been there since Day 1. He’s always been talking to me about pitching and how to learn the game more. I talk to him every night about how I’m pitching, things I need to work on and how to get better.”

The Draft continues on Thursday with Rounds 2-5. The MLB Network preview show begins at 4 p.m. ET, with live coverage on MLB Network and ESPN2 beginning at 5 p.m. ET. Go to MLB.com/Draft for complete coverage, including every pick on the Draft Tracker, coverage and analysis from MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft and @MLBDraftTracker on Twitter.