Do you remember former Miami Marlins...Florida Marlins technically starting pitcher Dontrelle Willis? He was there for the team's glory days and hopefully will be around for celebrations this season. In honor of Black history month, let's reminisce about the career and one specific season of the former ace of the team's pitching staff. So, do you remember Dontrelle Willis? If not then get ready to enjoy the ride...
Dontrelle Willis had one of the greatest seasons in Miami Marlins history.
Dontrelle Willis was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 8'th round of the 2000 draft but was later traded to the Miami (then Florida) Marlins. He debuted in the 2003 World Series winning season, pitching to a 3.30 ERA/3.45 FIP in 27 games and 10.2 innings pitched with 8.0 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9. He was worth 3.9 WAR and won the NL Rookie of the Year award. It was an impressive debut and he was rewarded further by winning the World Series that season, though he had a poor 8.53 ERA in 7 games (2 starts) and 12.2 innings in the playoffs.
In 2004, Willis followed that up with a 4.02 ERA/4.01 FIP in 32 games and 197.0 innings pitched. He also had 6.4 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. He was only worth 1.3 WAR. This season was a reminder of sophomore slumps that often plague young players. It wasn't a bad season of course, but surely not a top of the rotation season. He did much better in 2005, with a 2.63 ERA/2.99 FIP in 34 games and 236.1 innings pitched. Those results came along with 6.5 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.He was worth 7.3 WAR and finished second in NL Cy Young award voting.
Dontrelle Willis's final good season came in 2006 with a 3.87 ERA/4.31 FIP in 34 games and 223.1 innings along with 6.4 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. He was worth 4.1 WAR. 2007 ended up as his final season with The Fish, and he had a 5.17 ERA/5.13 FIP in 35 games and 205.1 innings pitched, along with 6.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9. He was worth just 0.7 WAR. What followed is the worst trade in Miami Marlins history, that isn't called such because of Willis being traded.
Willis never pitched 200 innings in a season again... in 2008-2011 with the Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds he had a 6.15 ERA/5.46 FIP in 43 games (40 starts) and 199.0 innings pitched. It was a sad end to a once promising career. He pitched his final Major League game at just 29 years old. Let's remember Dontrelle Willis for his 2003-2006 time with the Miami Marlins when he should've won that NL Cy Young award and had a 3.44 ERA/3.69 FIP in 127 games and 817.1 innings pitched with 6.7 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. Let's get that D-Train bobblehead made!!