Skip to main content

Reid Detmers could be Los Angeles Angels X-factor in run to rare MLB Playoff appearance

Reid Detmers has been the talk of the Major League Baseball world after the Los Angeles Angels rookie hurler tossed a no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays in just his 11th career start.

Los Angeles’ No. 1 prospect heading into the 2022 season was absolutely filthy in the best start of his young career — throwing 68 of his 108 pitches for strikes. He utilized a nasty breaking ball, off-speed pitches and increased velocity to keep Tampa Bay’s hitters off balance throughout the game.

For the former No. 10 overall pick out of Louisville, this represented somewhat of a coronation after he was inconsistent since making his MLB debut against the Oakland Athletics last August. It’s also one of the reasons a long-downtrodden Angels team now has realistic AL West title expectations moving forward in the 2022 season.

Related: 2022 MLB rotation rankings

Reid Detmers offers the Los Angeles Angels that shot in the arm

los angeles angels' reid detmers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s be honest here. These Angels have not made the playoffs since all the way back in 2014 primarily because the front office struggled adding front-line pitchers to the mix.

General manager Perry Minasian attempted to atone for that this past winter and spring by adding Noah Syndergaard to the mix after many injury-plagued seasons with the Mets.

The former All-Star has been a revelation of sorts early in his Angels career — pitching to a 3-1 record with a 2.45 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in five starts. One of the primary reasons Syndergaard signed with the Angels was to help the team end its long playoff drought. Once he made his way to spring training, the potentially dominant righty made that clear.

“I see a lot of what I saw in 2015, just the overall grit and bad-a** persona, playing with a chip on our shoulder. It’s been a while since the Angels made the playoffs. This is my first year here. The overall tone is they’re kind of all sick of this s**t.”

Noah Syndergaard back in March

This mentality certainly has helped a still young 22-year-old Detmers make the transition from wide-eyed rookie to being an important part of the Angels’ playoff run. Including the no-hitter, he’s been pretty darn good thus far in his second real cup of coffee in the bigs.

Reid Detmers stats (2022): 2-1 record, 3.77 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 20/8 strikeout-walk ratio

Showing the control that made him a top-10 pick back in 2020, Detmers has been in command of his pitches throughout the season. That includes giving up a mere 18 hits in 31 innings of action. His strikeout-to-walk ratio through 31 innings is also top shelf.

Angels manager Joe Maddon touched on this as far back on Spring Training, indicating that he’s seen vast improvement from Detmers when it comes his command of the off-speed stuff.

“Landing his curveball, getting the chase with the slider, pretty much throwing his fastball where he wants to,” Maddon said of Reid Detmers, via MLB.com. “You see that, he’s going to be really good.”

For the youngster, it’s going to be all about consistency moving forward. If he’s able to provide that with a healthy Syndergaard doing his thing, the Angels’ rotation will quickly turn into a strength.

It gives Los Angeles a big three that could compete with other contenders in the American League. After all, superstar Shohei Ohtani (3.08 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) has joined these two in pitching great. Patrick Sandoval (2.03 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) has also been a godsend.

Los Angeles Angels early-season success isn’t a mirage

MLB: Cleveland Guardians at Los Angeles Angels
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles entered Wednesday’s action with a 21-11 record and in first place in the American League West. The team has won six of seven heading into Wednesday’s game against the Rays.

In addition to Reid Detmers and the Angels’ pitching staff performing at a high clip, it has seen others step up behind Mike Trout and Ohtani from the plate.

A former first-round pick of his own, outfielder Taylor Ward is finally living up to that billing ater struggling through parts of four seasons to open his career. He leads the American league in average (.364), on-base percentage (.490) and walks (19). Ward also boasts an otherworldly 1.165 OPS.

To put this into perspective, MLB’s best player in that of Mike Trout is in the midst of a potential MVP season while boasting a 1.183 OPS. That just goes to show us how good Ward has been.

If Anthony Rendon can peform from a higher clip from the plate, this Angels lineup will be a hard out. Add in Reid Detmers and the Los Angeles’ rotation, and what we’ve seen in Southern California doesn’t seem to be a fluke. It could lead to actual playoff baseball in Anaheim this October. Imagine that.