From the Nokomis Braves and Redskins to the Glenwood Titans to the Louisville Cardinals, Reid Detmers has looked good in red for a long time. Now, the young pitcher has a chance to keep the same color scheme, but on a much grander stage with the Los Angeles Angels.
On Wednesday, June 10, Detmers was picked 10th overall in the Major League Baseball draft, fulfilling a lifelong dream for the 20-year-old who grew up in Nokomis.
“It’s been a little stressful, but it’s been an enjoyable couple of days,” Detmers said during an interview on Friday, June 12, with WSMI and The Journal-News. “There has been a lot of stuff going on. I’m glad everything worked out like I planned and I’m just looking forward to the future.”
While he had been drafted coming out of high school in the 32nd round by Atlanta, Wednesday’s experience was drastically different for Detmers. In 2017, the oldest son of Kris and Erica Detmers knew that he needed a little something extra if his dreams of an extended pro career were going to come to fruition, despite a prep career that saw him go 29-7 with 446 strikeouts between Nokomis and Glenwood.
“Back in high school, it wasn’t as crazy because I kind of had an idea that I was going to college,” Detmers said. “I knew college was a better fit for me out of high school so I could develop a little more.”
It turned out to be the right call for Detmers, who started eight games as a freshman, going 4-2 with a 4.85 ERA and 69 strikeouts, before a stint in the Cape Cod League over the summer primed him for a breakout season as a sophomore.
Excelling as Louisville’s regular Friday night starter, Detmers proved to be one of the top college pitchers in the country as he went 13-4 with 167 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.78. Those stats would earn him a first team All-American nod and the honor of being the ACC Pitcher of the Year. Detmers would also be a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Award.
He would earn first team All-American honors again in 2020, a season that was shortened due to COVID-19 in which the Cardinals went 13-4 in 17 games. Three of those wins would come from Detmers, who struck out 48 batters in just 22 innings while giving up just three earned runs.
While brief, Detmers believes that his work in 2020 helped solidify his status as one of the top college pitchers in the draft.
“I think what I did this season helped a little bit. My body felt great. My arm felt great. Stuff was coming out good and I had a lot of success,” Detmers said. “Getting those four outings under my belt really helped shape my future and helped my confidence. I’m just ready to get started again.”
The season was just a microcosm of Detmers’ overall experience at Louisville, who was the top ranked team coming into the 2020 season after making it to the College Baseball World Series in 2019.
“I knew in high school I was ready for pro ball. I was mentally ready, just not physically ready, which is why I came here,” Detmers said of Louisville. “I got along with the coaches really well and I knew that coming to this program would help me develop.”
Once he got on campus, Detmers hit the weight room, getting stronger and doing what he needed to do to become a next level pitcher. He would also hone the skills that his father, who played six years in the St. Louis Cardinals’ minor league system, had taught him from an early age.
“Throughout that process, I learned the game a little bit more. I learned about pitching and how to use my body and stuff like that,” Detmers said about the Cardinals, who have had 87 draft picks in 14 years under Head Coach Dan McDonnell, including another first rounder, Bobby Miller to the Dodgers at number 29. “Coming here, it’s everything I could have asked for. It’s really a top notch program.”
While his time ahead of the draft was a little hectic for Detmers, with Zoom meetings and phone calls with prospective teams, after it has been a hurricane of interviews, calls and messages from friends and family, including a text from the Angels’ all-star outfielder Mike Trout.
“My phone’s been blowing up, so I haven’t really been able to talk to anybody,” Detmers said. “I talked to my aunt that day and I didn’t know there was going to be a little watch party at the park house, but she told me that. It was a very cool moment and I wasn’t expecting that. I know a lot of friends back home were watching it, which was pretty cool.”
While his friends in Nokomis and Chatham were watching from Illinois, Detmers was sitting by his mother and father, who had been so integral in getting him to this place.
“I remember just getting up and hugging both my mom and dad. He’s been there the whole time. Everything I’ve learned is from him. All of my work ethic I learned from him. All my credit goes to him,” Detmers said of his father. “Just being able to have him by my side, getting that phone call and telling him basically that my dream had come true, it was a very special moment.”
While Kris Detmers was his son’s biggest influence growing up, Reid Detmers knows that there will be a generation of young baseball players watching his every move.
“I think about that all the time,” Detmers said about being a role model. “In everything I do I’m thinking about that generation under me, whether it’s talking to the media or playing ball. I’m trying to be a good role model.”
There will be plenty of time for that in the future though. For now, Detmers can just revel in the fact that he has accomplished something that most only dream about.
“It was a blessing and a dream come true,” said Detmers. “I’ll be forever thankful for it.”