Dontrelle Willis was a fan favorite in the MLB. The left-handed pitcher had a high leg kick, that was deceptive and threw off the timing for some hitters. That delivery proved to be a success for Willis.
The Oakland, California native wasted no time when he got to the big leagues, make an immediate impact. Willis will always be remembered for his unique delivery from the pitching mound.
Dontrelle Willis pitching career highlights
Willis made his MLB debut with the Florida Marlins in 2003. That year was a big year for Willis as he won a World Series title and was named the NL Rookie of the Year. He was a key contributor to that World Series team. He finished with a 14-6 record with a 3.30 ERA in 27 starts in his first year.
He immediately became a fan favorite in Florida and was set to have a successful career in the majors.
During the 2005 season, Willis became one of the best pitchers in baseball. He became the only pitcher in Marlins history to win 20 games, and he also won the Warren Spahn Award, given to the best left-handed pitcher in each league.
Among the Marlins organization, Willis ranks first in complete games (15); second in wins (68), shutouts (8) and games started (162); and third in total strikeouts (757).
Career after leaving the Florida Marlins
After leaving the Florida Marlins in 2006, Willis would finish his career playing for the Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Cincinnati Reds. He also signed minor league deals with the Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Angels and Milwaukee Brewers.
When Willis left the Marlins, he wasn’t known as one of the top pitchers in the league. His best years were in Florida, and he was able to get a championship out of it. In 2015 he announced his retirement from the game of baseball.
If Willis had the same success throughout his career that he had with the Marlins, he could have made a strong case to be in the Hall of Fame. Willis ended his career 72-69 with a 4.17 ERA and 896 strikeouts.
Dontrelle Willis staying in the game of baseball
Though he may not be pitching in the big leagues anymore, Willis has found a way to remain in the sport. In March, Willis announced he’s joining NBC Sports Bay Area to cover the Athletics for the upcoming baseball season. He will contribute to the network as an in-studio analyst.
Willis also is an MLB studio analyst for FOX Sports. He contributes to MLB WHIPAROUND, the network’s nightly baseball program, in addition to coverage throughout the regular season and MLB Postseason.
Instead of watching him on the mound, you can watch him break down games and gives his analysis from a former player’s standpoint. It’s good to see that Willis is still involved in the game of baseball and bringing his expertise to the game.
Willis could have a long career as an analyst in the game of baseball with all the experience he has gained as a player.