Originally posted on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 12/16/11

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

Joe Mixon drafted by Bengals; fans boo pick

Vikings land Adrian Peterson’s replacement, trade up for Dalvin Cook

WATCH: Kris Bryant launches moonshot completely out of Fenway Park

Kevin King, alone in green room, taken first in Round 2 by Packers

Felix Hernandez, Mitch Haniger expected to miss 3-4 weeks for Mariners

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

CFL fines head coach for meeting with Johnny Manziel rep

Reuben Foster hung up on Saints when 49ers called him

Packers ‘taking calls’ for No. 33 pick in draft

Bears confirm that Mike Glennon is their starter for the 2017 season

Report: Jets making calls trying to trade Sheldon Richardson

Broncos players take to Twitter to call for team to sign Gary Barnidge

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

Box Score 4/28: NFL Draft gets younger every year

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

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

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker