Detmers K’s 14, tosses immaculate inning

June 20th, 2021

Not only was Reid Detmers’ dominant start in Game 1 of Rocket City’s Father’s Day doubleheader the best outing of his young career, it was a performance that has only been matched by three other Angels Minor Leaguers in the past 15 years.

In the Trash Pandas' 3-2 win over Biloxi, MLB Pipeline’s No. 58 overall prospect punched out a career-high 14 batters in six innings and started his day off with an immaculate inning in the first. Detmers allowed two runs on three hits and walked two to round out his final line.

"I was throwing everything for strikes and everything felt good coming out of the hand. I was getting a lot of swings and misses,” said Detmers. “Staying ahead and just keep attacking, that’s when I start to see success.”

With his strikeout total, the 10th overall pick in the 2020 Draft joined Rocket City teammate Cooper Criswell (Double-A, 6/16/21), Tyler Skaggs (Triple-A, 7/14/16), and Jered Weaver (Triple-A, 6/23/06) as the only pitchers in the Angels' system to reach 14 K’s in a game since 2006.

Detmers needed just nine pitches to mow down the first three batters in order, tossing the first immaculate inning of his professional career. He retired the side in the second with one more punchout but ran into trouble in the third. Following a walk to lead off the inning, the left-hander allowed a two-run homer to Cam Devanney, knotting the game at two runs apiece.

“He was disappointed that he made a mistake on that one pitch, he was disappointed he walked the guy too to lead off the inning," said Rocket City manager Jay Bell. He was impressed by Detmers' ability to settle in after the longball, retiring seven of the next 10 batters he faced. "He’s a young guy who’s been taught well, and he’s got that status of being considered a professional baseball player in the way that he acts and responds to adversity.”

The Angels’ No. 2 prospect allowed two singles in the sixth, but recorded all three outs in the sixth with strikeouts, and exited his dominant day on the hill in line for the win with a 3-2 lead that would hold as the final score.

"Obviously, you’re going to get hit around every once in a while, and when you do you just got to bounce back," said Detmers. "That’s one of my mottos, just bounce back and just keep competing.”

The 21-year-old’s four-pitch mix of a mid-90’s fastball, a looping curveball sitting in the mid-70's, a sinking changeup and a developing slider has allowed him to show off his high-strikeout potential early on in his first professional season. Detmers' start on Sunday was the third time he’s reached double-digit K’s this season, and through eight starts and 35 innings he has fanned 60 batters while walking 13 for a 15.4 K/9 and strikeout rate of 40.3%.

“That’s the main adjustment for me, just locating a little bit better with my fastball and throwing my offspeed for strikes. If I can’t throw my offspeed for strikes, then they’re not going to swing at anything,” said Detmers.

While he's gaining confidence in his new slider, Detmers said he has been most impressed by the improvement in his changeup. "The past couple of weeks it’s been really good. I get a lot of swings and misses on it and that’s the pitch I’ve worked on the most, trying to get that feel back for it and so far it’s worked."

While flashing his tendency to dominate in extended innings, Detmers lowered his season ERA to 3.34 and his WHIP to 1.229. The Louisville product is finding his groove in June, scattering four runs over three starts for a 2.40 ERA. Detmers has struck out 30 batters in 15 innings this month, fanning 47.6% of the hitters who have stepped into the box against him in the second month of the season.

“For him to step into this level of baseball, where you’re a phone call away from going to the big leagues, he’s done a great job, he’s learned here, and it’s nice to see a guy that is a grown up out there," said Bell. "I’m looking forward to watching his progression. I think he’s going to be an extraordinary pitcher.”