Greetings from Austria! It seems my absence from the good ol' U.S. of A. has led to a distinctive lack of Reds wins. I'd like to offer a hearty apology and assure you that I take none of the blame because superstition is fake. Now that that's out of the wa--munchgulpburp--sorry, had to finish drinking my beer and eating my sausage. As I was saying, now that that's out of the way, IT'S D-TRAIN TIME! According to mlb.com, it has been a whopping 375 days since Dontrelle Willis last took the mound for a major league team, in an Arizona uniform. The D-Train has looked very good so far in AAA, posting a 5-2 record with a 2.63 ERA. But since we all know W/L and ERA are stupid, let's take a closer look at his stats, shall we? Apres le Jump!
So, in his 2005 season (where he went 22-10 with a...go figure...2.63 ERA), Monsieur Train had a K/BB of 3.09, a reasonable BABIP of .283, and a strand rate of 75.6%. This season in AAA, those numbers are 3.35, .304, and 74.1%, respectively. So far so good.
Also in that fateful 2005 season, Dontrelle's FIP was 2.99, reasonably close to his 2.63 ERA, though his xFIP was significantly higher, sitting at 3.68. This season in AAA? FIP of 3.12 and no Fangraphs listed xFIP, so I'm gunna assume it's like 0.47 or something.
Regardless, signs point to something being different. The K/BB numbers this year especially bode well, as they are the best (according to good ol' Fangraphs) of his career (by comparison, his minor league best for the Tigers was 2.00, and that was in high A and AA in 2009). My expectations are tempered, as I highly doubt he'll regain his 2005 form or anything close to it, but I think it is reasonable to be optimistic. I think most people want him to succeed, and I'd love it if he did it for the Reds!