Reid Detmers has overcome many obstacles since being becoming the tenth overall draft pick of the 2020 Draft for Major League Baseball (MLB) by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the season schedule for Minor League Baseball (MiLB) was canceled altogether. The MLB was limited to a 60-game regular season, mostly under bubble.
Meanwhile, no one was able to see any action from Detmers in 2020 due to the cancellation of MiLB season, which also experienced a restructuring from its usual eight-tiered minor league system.
Detmers made his start with the Rocket City Trash Pandas in Double-A’s Southern Division May 5 against the Chattanooga Lookouts, a game that resulted in his first MiLB loss.
In his time with the Trash Pandas, Detmers made 12 starts with a 2-4 record and six no-decisions. But it’s not all bad news: Detmers in only a few months, he has struck out 97 batters, has a WHIP of 1.167, and 16 strikeouts per nine innings.
His persistence resulted in getting the nod to participate in the 2021 MLB Futures Game earlier this month.
Now it pays off further, as Detmers received the callup on Thursday, July 22 to Triple-A, joining the Salt Lake Bees in Salt Lake City, Utah alongside fellow pitcher Chris Rodriguez.
Trash Pandas manager Jay Bell made remarks about the callup during a post-game interview following a 6-3 win at home against the Tennessee Smokies.
Bell expressed a slight annoyance about the news early in the interview, which may be understandable when your team has a talented arm on the roster.
“Nobody really talked to me about the decision-making process and what the reasons were,” Bell stated. “They originally talked about whenever he was ready, to move him from here to Anaheim.”
Detmers could have gone straight to the Angels? It’s not that simple
It appears that there were discussions of plans to fast-track Detmers from the Trash Pandas to the main roster of the Angels, skipping Triple-A altogether.
However, COVID-19 protocols within MLB and MiLB currently does not allow for this action, which involves a more stringent process.
In the instance of Detmers and Rodriguez, they will have to quarantine in Salt Lake City (or playing in a “bubble”) for an extended period, the average being between 30 and 45 days, based on other call-ups this season. This process is a requirement before making a further jump to the big leagues. Unfortunately, this creates for a tough hill to climb for the Angels, who may desperately need Detmers’ arm in upcoming games.
Before he can advance to the Angels roster, he will have to self-quarantine for five days following the completion of a PCR test. This process is slightly revised for a player who has received the COVID vaccine.
With the decision to instead promote Detmers to Salt Lake, Bell noted, “They felt that they probably just [needed to] give him another challenge.”
Bell praises Detmers’ efforts in the Rocket City
Later in the interview, Bell’s tone and demeanor switched to praise and appreciation.
“[He] handled himself extremely well,” Bell notes.
“He was a great representative, of not just the Angels, but also the Trash Pandas,” stated Bell. “He was a good citizen here, and I’m excited for him to be able to take that next step.”
The Trash Pandas skipper would also extend some praise for the University of Louisville.
“Again, I could not give enough credit to the Louisville coaches,” Bell said. “I think they prepared him well for professional baseball.”
Bell also noted the difficulties of not having a MiLB season in 2020.
“I didn’t get to see him [in action] last year,” Bell adds. “But I got to see him this year.”
“From Spring Training to the end of the ‘bubble’, for him to come over, he really bought into what we were selling,” Bell continued. “[He] stepped up.”
A representative for the Bees made a response to the call-up.
“Fans in Salt Lake are excited to be able to watch Reid as he takes the next step in his professional baseball career,” stated Kraig Williams, communications director for the Bees, in an email response.
“[We] hope one day he’ll join players like David Ortiz, Torii Hunter, Jered Weaver, and Mike Trout as great MLB players that came through Salt Lake on their way to stardom,” Williams added.
Detmers makes Triple-A debut in Salt Lake City
Three days after being called up, Detmers made his debut Saturday evening, July 24 at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City, Utah against Paul Blackburn and the Las Vegas Aviators.
During the game, Detmers impressed in his debut, pitching six innings and allowing no runs on three hits. He struck out nine during his appearance.
Support from Jose Quijada and Felix Pena on the mount and a strong offensive showing led to the Bees blanking out the Aviators 6-0 before a crowd of 11,131.
Gavin Cecchini highlighted the Bees offensive drive, collecting a hit in nine consecutive at-bats, singling twice in the game, following going 2-for-2 on Tuesday and 5-for-5 on Friday. He would also walk in his two final plate appearances to extend his streak to 11 straight plate appearances. Both streaks from Cecchini marks franchise records for the Bees organization.
Taylor Ward made three hits including two doubles, and Michael Stefanic extended his hitting streak to 14 games, also the longest in franchise history.
The win marks Detmers’ first win in Triple-A and increases his MiLB career record to 3-4 for the 2021 campaign.
Detmers’ next appearance may be during the six-game series on the road against the Albuquerque Isotopes in Albuquerque, N.M. from July 29 through August 3.
This article will also be in the July 28, 2021 edition of the Nokomis Free Press-Progress.
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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.