For U of L's Detmers, it's 'surreal' as Angels choose him 10th

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) -- This is how fast Reid Detmers' life changed after his selection by the Los Angeles Angels in the Major League Baseball Draft Wednesday night. While being interviewed by local media via a teleconference he missed a call from Mike Trout.


Yes, that Mike Trout, the Angels' eight-time MLB All-star and seven-time winner of the American League MVP Award. He of the $33 million annual salary.


Trout undoubtedly wanted to congratulate Detmers and welcome him to sunny California and professional baseball shortly after Louisville's junior left-hander was selected 10th overall in the draft by the Angels, a spot that carries with it as much as a $4.7 million signing bonus.


Detmers is considered one of the most major-league-ready players in the draft, so he may not have to wait too long to meet Trout in person.


"That would be very cool," Detmers said. "I'm excited to meet him."


ESPN draft analysts predicted that Detmers and his deadly curveball could be with the California club as soon as this fall if the Angeles reach the postseason. He is the first pitcher they have selected in the first round in six years.


"I think I'm going to move up the organization pretty fast," Detmers said. "I'm eager to get going and I have a good feel right off the bat. My goal is to move through and get to the big leagues quickly."


The last time the Angels selected a pitcher in the first round was in 2014, when they took college pitcher Sean Newcomb. He never played for the Angels; general manager Billy Eppler traded him to acquire Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons from the Atlanta Braves. Since scouting director Matt Swanson’s arrival ahead of the 2017 draft, the Angels have tended to select athletic players considered higher-risk picks with higher upside in the first few rounds.


Detmers, 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, is considered more of a sure thing. He was a first-team All-America selection and ACC Player of the Year in 2019 after going 13-4 with a 2.78 ERA in 113 1/3 innings while setting UofL's season strikeout record with 167. The Illinois native later played for USA Baseball’s collegiate national team, giving up one run in 12 innings spanning three starts.


During his college career he struck out 284 batters in 191 innings, including 48 in 22 innings in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.


Detmers is the fifth Louisville player in the last five years to be selected in the first round.


"This is a dream come true; it's very surreal, very emotional," he said. "It's something I've worked my entire life for. I'm so thankful for this opportunity. I want to thank everybody who helped me along in this process. I'm looking forward to living my dream."


It must be pointed out, however, that the odds are against him wearing a Angels uniform so soon. Since 2017, of the 90 players selected in the first round, only have have reached the majors so far, but maybe he can buck the trend.


Later in the evening, Detmers' teammate, right-handed pitcher Bobby Miller, was selected 29th overall -- the last spot in the first round -- by the Los Angeles Dodgers.


 The pair became the seventh and eighth first-round selections in Louisville history and the first since lefty Brendan McKay was taken fourth overall in 2017. The Cards have now had 74 players drafted since 2017.


Miller left with a 15-2 record in 41 career appearances, recording 175 strikeouts in 170 innings and a 3.28 ERA. In four starts this past abbreviated season he was 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 23.1 innings.

Russ Brown, a former sportswriter for The Courier-Journal and USA Today, covers University of Louisville sports and college football and basketball for Kentucky Today. He can be contacted at 0926.russ.brown@gmail.com.

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