2012 Phillies Player Preview: Dontrelle Willis

Contract status: 2012 - One year, $850,000
Signed by Philadelphia Phillies as free agent on December 15, 2011

2011 Statistics:

Reds -
75.2 IP
57 SO
37 BB
5.00 ERA
4.10 FIP
4.08 xFIP
4.29 SIERA

Player Pages: Fangraphs; Baseball Reference.

If the Phillies front office poobahs are to be believed, newly acquired left-handed pitcher Dontrelle Willis will be assuming a new full-time role in 2012, that of middle reliever. It's been quite a fall from Willis's career year in 2005 while pitching for the Marlins, when the then 23 year old Willis won 22 games, posted a 2.63 ERA and finished second in Cy Young balloting. The mercurial Willis has had a rough road recently, including a well-publicized stint on the disabled list in 2009 due to social anxiety disorder.

Willis signed a minor league deal with the Reds in 2011 and had a just so-so run as a starter. Peel back the layers and there are some very promising indicators for Willis in the bullpen. Specifically, his ability to get left-handed batters out. For his career, lefties have only managed a .200/.274/.288 line against Willis, whose delivery has surely been described by one Mr. Chris Wheeler as "funky." Left handed batters were even more hapless against Willis in 2011: .127/.169/.200, with 20 strikeouts against 60 batters faced, and only two walks.

So, it doesn't take a baseball supergenius to see that Willis could have a very bright future in the league as a lefty specialist, the elusive LOOGY the Phillies have been seeking.

Willis just turned 30 in January, and on a one year deal for a measly $850,000, it's hard to imagine how the Phillies relationship with Willis could turn out poorly. With minimal risk and substantial upside, the Phillies could be the beneficiaries of a terrific career resurrection if Willis is able to harness his lefty-killing abilities and reinvent himself as an elite left-handed relief pitcher.

Oh, and the career .665 OPS at the plate doesn't hurt, either.

  • 1 year/$0.85M (2012)
    • signed by Philadelphia as a free agent 12/15/11
    • performance bonuses: $25,000 each for 5, 10 games started. $50,000 each for 15, 20 GS. $0.1M each for 25, 30 GS. $0.1M each for 125, 150, 175 IP. $25,000 each for 15, 25 relief appearances. $50,000 each for 35, 45 relief appearances. $75,000 each for 55, 65 relief appearances. $25,000 for 30 PAs.
    • award bonuses: $25,000 each for Gold Glove, Silver Slugger. $50,000 each for All-Star, LCS MVP. $0.1M each for WS MVP, Cy Young, Rolaids ($75,000 for 2nd in vote, $25,000 for 3rd.)

Contract details courtesy Cot's Contracts.

Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB Awards
2000 18 CHC-min Rk 3 1 .750 3.86 9 1 3 0 0 0 28.0 26 15 12 0 8 1 22 1 0 0 118 1.214 8.4 0.0 2.6 7.1 2.75 CBZ · ARIZ
2001 19 CHC-min A- 8 2 .800 2.98 15 15 0 0 0 0 93.2 76 36 31 1 19 0 77 3 1 5 374 1.014 7.3 0.1 1.8 7.4 4.05 BOI · NORW
2002 20 FLA-min A,A+ 12 2 .857 1.83 24 24 0 3 2 0 157.2 115 36 32 5 24 0 128 9 3 9 606 0.882 6.6 0.3 1.4 7.3 5.33 KNC,JUP · MIDW,FLOR
2003 21 FLA-min AA 4 0 1.000 1.49 6 6 0 0 0 0 36.1 24 6 6 2 9 0 32 0 0 1 133 0.908 5.9 0.5 2.2 7.9 3.56 CAR · SOUL
2003 21 FLA NL 14 6 .700 3.30 27 27 0 2 2 0 160.2 148 61 59 13 58 0 142 3 1 7 668 127 1.282 8.3 0.7 3.2 8.0 2.45 AS,MVP-34,RoY-1
2004 22 FLA NL 10 11 .476 4.02 32 32 0 2 0 0 197.0 210 99 88 20 61 8 139 8 0 2 848 102 1.376 9.6 0.9 2.8 6.4 2.28
2005 23 FLA NL 22 10 .688 2.63 34 34 0 7 5 0 236.1 213 79 69 11 55 3 170 8 1 2 960 152 1.134 8.1 0.4 2.1 6.5 3.09 AS,CYA-2,MVP-11
2006 24 FLA NL 12 12 .500 3.87 34 34 0 4 1 0 223.1 234 106 96 21 83 6 160 19 1 6 975 112 1.419 9.4 0.8 3.3 6.4 1.93
2007 25 FLA NL 10 15 .400 5.17 35 35 0 0 0 0 205.1 241 131 118 29 87 4 146 14 1 9 942 84 1.597 10.6 1.3 3.8 6.4 1.68
2008 26 DET-min AAA,A+ 3 4 .429 4.47 12 11 0 0 0 0 56.1 64 31 28 4 25 1 38 0 0 3 249 1.580 10.2 0.6 4.0 6.1 1.52 TOL,LAK · IL,FLOR
2008 26 DET AL 0 2 .000 9.38 8 7 0 0 0 0 24.0 18 25 25 4 35 1 18 1 1 5 122 49 2.208 6.8 1.5 13.1 6.8 0.51
2009 27 DET-min AAA,A+,AA 2 3 .400 4.58 7 7 0 0 0 0 37.1 33 19 19 3 20 0 23 1 0 2 158 1.420 8.0 0.7 4.8 5.5 1.15 TOL,LAK,ERI · IL,FLOR,EL
2009 27 DET AL 1 4 .200 7.49 7 7 0 0 0 0 33.2 37 28 28 4 28 0 17 1 0 1 160 61 1.931 9.9 1.1 7.5 4.5 0.61
2010 28 SFG-min AAA,Rk 0 1 .000 6.14 8 0 1 0 0 0 7.1 6 5 5 2 5 0 7 4 0 1 37 1.500 7.4 2.5 6.1 8.6 1.40 FRE,GNT · PCL,ARIZ
2010 28 TOT MLB 2 3 .400 5.62 15 13 0 0 0 0 65.2 72 41 41 6 56 0 47 5 2 8 316 76 1.949 9.9 0.8 7.7 6.4 0.84
2010 28 DET AL 1 2 .333 4.98 9 8 0 0 0 0 43.1 48 24 24 3 29 0 33 2 0 4 202 85 1.777 10.0 0.6 6.0 6.9 1.14
2010 28 ARI NL 1 1 .500 6.85 6 5 0 0 0 0 22.1 24 17 17 3 27 0 14 3 2 4 114 63 2.284 9.7 1.2 10.9 5.6 0.52
2011 29 CIN-min AAA 5 2 .714 2.63 13 13 0 0 0 0 75.1 71 29 22 5 20 0 67 1 0 5 310 1.208 8.5 0.6 2.4 8.0 3.35 LOU · IL
2011 29 CIN NL 1 6 .143 5.00 13 13 0 0 0 0 75.2 78 42 42 6 37 2 57 2 0 8 334 78 1.520 9.3 0.7 4.4 6.8 1.54
9 Seasons 72 69 .511 4.17 205 202 0 15 8 0 1221.2 1251 612 566 114 500 24 896 61 7 48 5325 101 1.433 9.2 0.8 3.7 6.6 1.79
162 Game Avg. 12 12 .511 4.17 34 34 0 3 1 0 204 209 102 95 19 84 4 150 10 1 8 890 101 1.433 9.2 0.8 3.7 6.6 1.79
FLA (5 yrs) 68 54 .557 3.78 162 162 0 15 8 0 1022.2 1046 476 430 94 344 21 757 52 4 26 4393 111 1.359 9.2 0.8 3.0 6.7 2.20
DET (3 yrs) 2 8 .200 6.86 24 22 0 0 0 0 101.0 103 77 77 11 92 1 68 4 1 10 484 64 1.931 9.2 1.0 8.2 6.1 0.74
ARI (1 yr) 1 1 .500 6.85 6 5 0 0 0 0 22.1 24 17 17 3 27 0 14 3 2 4 114 63 2.284 9.7 1.2 10.9 5.6 0.52
CIN (1 yr) 1 6 .143 5.00 13 13 0 0 0 0 75.2 78 42 42 6 37 2 57 2 0 8 334 78 1.520 9.3 0.7 4.4 6.8 1.54
NL (7 yrs) NL 70 61 .534 3.93 181 180 0 15 8 0 1120.2 1148 535 489 103 408 23 828 57 6 38 4841 106 1.388 9.2 0.8 3.3 6.6 2.03
AL (3 yrs) AL 2 8 .200 6.86 24 22 0 0 0 0 101.0 103 77 77 11 92 1 68 4 1 10 484 64 1.931 9.2 1.0 8.2 6.1 0.74
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/10/2012.
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