Not too long ago, Ross Detwiler and Livan Hernandez pitched in the same rotation. While their careers were obviously heading in different directions at the time, Detwiler being the promising youngster and Hernandez the aging veteran, they still saw each other pitch every five days.
No doubt Detwiler took advantage of this opportunity, watching and absorbing everything he could from the Nationals’ former ace. Because after all, it’s not everyday that a young hurler gets to pick the brain of someone who knows as much about pitching as anyone in the game.Three years later, the two have been reunited for spring training, and this time, Hernandez is the one doing all the watching.
Hernandez, serving as a spring training instructor, had high praise for the 27-year-old southpaw who is recovering from a back injury that doomed his 2013 season.
“Detwiler is getting stronger every day,” Hernandez told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. “Detwiler is ready for this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins a lot of games. I think he’s got the chance to win 15 or more games this year.”
When it comes to pitching, Hernandez definitely knows what he’s talking about. But when it comes to predictions, he always seems to lean towards the very best case scenario, as we saw earlier today:
— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) February 21, 2014
While Detwiler is a safer bet than Rivero, 15 wins is pretty ambitious for a pitcher who might not even make the rotation out of spring training. Detwiler will face serious competition for the fifth spot as he’ll have to beat out the likes of Taylor Jordan, Ross Ohlendorf and last year’s superstar, Tanner Roark. While it won’t be an easy task, Detwiler may have an edge against the competition.
According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Detwiler has developed a cutter, making his resume even stronger than it already was. Detwiler also appears to be in full health, a huge boost for a pitcher who only made 13 starts last season.
If Detwiler has in fact added a decent cutter to his repertoire, and if he manages to stay relatively healthy, I have a strong feeling that he’s going to be the Nationals’ fifth starter. I’m not so sure about 15 wins, but if Hernandez says that Detwiler is ready, I believe him.