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Waiver Wire: Ross Detwiler

Fantasy owners, we’ve reached the home stretch; the time where September call-ups can make a difference in the playoffs or pay dividends towards the future. Even though some of the top prospects have already been called up, there are some other interesting players worth taking a flier on as the season comes to a conclusion. While there’s no guarantee these players will push your team over the edge; taking a shot on certain players can better educate a fantasy owner for next season as well — when the player might be given a larger role. Ross Detwiler is the type of player that fits this description, and he’s finally getting a chance to show what he can do at the major league level.

If there’s a winner to the whole “Jordan Zimmermann innings-limit” strategy, it’s likely Detwiler. Detwiler — who has already thrown 44 innings for the Washington Nationals this season — likely keeps his rotation spot if (when?) Stephen Strasburg returns to the rotation. It appears Detwiler will get another opportunity in the rotation so that the Nationals can see what he offers to the future of the franchise.

Heading into the 2007 MLB Draft, Detwiler was seen as the second best lefty available — behind David Price. He had solid velocity for a left-handed starter, and two plus-pitches. If there were any doubts about Detwiler, they revolved around his control and his ability to hold up under a major league workload.

Though Detwiler has experienced some injuries throughout his career, it’s his control issues that could hold him back in the majors. Detwiler seems to have them under control this season, however, as he’s currently posting the best walk rate (2.86 per nine) of his young career. The 25-year-old pitcher has also been able to increase his strikeout rate this season. While a 6.14 K/9 isn’t necessarily special, it’s a promising sign that Detwiler can be a starting pitcher in the majors going forward.

That said, there are some reasons for concern. While Detwiler’s ERA stands at a shiny 2.86, his peripherals don’t agree with the performance. That’s not to say Detwiler has been bad this season; just merely not as good as his stats seem to indicate. The home runs could also be an issue; as he’s already allowed five in just 44 innings this season. If he can continue to keep his walks in check, he should be able to limit the damage of the long ball, however.

In most leagues, Detwiler is nothing more than a speculative pickup. There’s some upside here; as Detwiler is a former top pick who is finally getting an extended look in the majors. While he’s not likely to win a championship for your team, he could be worthy of a spot-start down the stretch. If nothing else, fantasy owners can familiarize themselves with Detwiler; who may be slotted into the rotation next season. That familiarity might be useful next season, as owners prepare for their drafts once again. In keeper leagues, Detwiler is not worth a look unless the league is incredibly deep.