Originally written on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 11/17/14
Picimg_tigers_0fb8

Dontrelle Willis's numbers against lefties last season were better than either of these men's.

What triggered when you heard the Phillies signed (lefty starter reliever) Dontrelle Willis? Did you start visualizing the herky-jerky, moving parts windup – a trademark that has changed out of necessity over the years – and seeing exactly how it could be so deceptive to a lefthanded hitter?

If utilized properly, Willis has a real shot to succeed as a bullpen arm. His control finally dropped to a manageable level in 2011, and for one more year than that he’s been retiring lefties at will.

Lefthanded batters have hit .178 off Willis since 2010. The deeper you dig, the more evidence you find that Willis doesn’t just have a chance to be elite in left-on-left situations… he already is.

Let’s take a look at the 2011 seasons of Willis, Antonio Bastardo and Jonny Venters against strictly lefthanded batters. Column one is batting average and column two is OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage).

Column three is strikeout percentage (how many plate appearances ended in a strikeout?) and column four is walk percentage (total batters faced divided by plate appearances ending in a walk).

The final three columns are balls thrown, strikes thrown and the percentage of pitches which went for strikes.

BAAOPS
AgainstStrikeout
Pct.Walk Pct.BallsStrikesStrike
Pct.
Bastardo.145
.558
39.2%12.2%
122
21864% Venters
.127.402
41.3%7.6%
122
22965% BAAOPS
AgainstStrikeout
Pct.Walk Pct.BallsStrikesStrike
Pct.
Willis
.127
.369
33.3%
3.3%
65
16071%


Willis had the same opponents’ batting average vs. lefties as Venters, a better opponents’ OPS than either Bastardo or Venters, a significantly lower walk percentage and higher strike percentage.

This isn’t a comparison of Willis to two run-of-the-mill lefty relievers, it’s a side-by-side look at Willis and a pair of southpaws who stifled the league in 2011 and utterly dominated same-handed hitters. It’s a one-year sample, sure, but if the Dontrelle Experiment works at all it will be because he carried his improved command into 2012.

The skill is already there. If the utilization is on point, Willis has a chance to not only reinvent himself but emerge as one of the best at his new craft.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Dockett: I would have signed with Cardinals for less money

Report: Darrelle Revis' decision to come down to Patriots, Jets

Maurice Jones-Drew announces his retirement from NFL

Ndamukong Suh is biggest prize, risk in free agency

Associated Press will have 'robots' writing game stories

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jaworski on Winston: 'I would not take him at that No. 1 pick

Peyton Manning passes physical, returning to Broncos

Gregg Popovich rips notion of NBA Finals games in July

Ortiz on Schilling controversy: 'It makes you angry'

Report: Josh Hamilton facing one-year suspension

Report: Eagles, Jets will make trade for Marcus Mariota

Michelle Beadle’s campaign to be cast in ‘Sharknado 3′ pays off

Ten teams who have tightened the belt

Dodgers will have a tough time dumping Andre Ethier

Brian Cashman: Derek Jeter should be final Yankees captain

Tom Brady, Rory McIlroy to play round at Augusta National

No one knows who will win the 2014-15 NBA MVP

Giants TE on plane that slid off runway in New York

TSN to stop airing tweets after trade deadline debacle

Is there a team for Rajon Rondo?

Five most likely running back targets for the Eagles

Marijuana and MLB's Joint Drug Agreement

Twelve unlikely players who could be NCAA Tourney heroes

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ten teams who have tightened the belt

Mayweather waited for Pacquiao to get old, right?

Maurice Jones-Drew announces his retirement from NFL

Ndamukong Suh is biggest prize, risk in free agency

AP will have 'robots' writing game stories

Manning officially returning to Broncos

No one knows who will win the MVP

Pop rips notion of NBA Finals in July

Is there a team for Rajon Rondo?

Five likeliest RB targets for Eagles

Pot and MLB's Joint Drug Agreement

Unlikely NCAA Tourney heroes

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.