Add another analyst to Fox’s growing stable of on-air MLB talent – former pitcher Dontrelle Willis is reportedly joining the network after a nine-year career in the majors.
Willis is just 33, and last pitched in the majors during the 2011 season with the Reds. The 2003 NL Rookie of the Year with the Marlins had stints with the Phillies, Orioles, Cubs, Angels, Giants, and Brewers following his time in Cincinnati, but hadn’t pitched in the majors in four years. This spring, Willis was in camp with the Brewers, but never made his in-game debut because of a lingering neck injury.
How Willis will fare with Fox is unknown because of his lack of experience. But he fits the mold of the other MLB analysts Fox has brought in since the launch of Fox Sports 1 two years ago – young and inexperienced, but oozing potential. No one expected all that much from Gabe Kapler, C.J. Nitkowski, and Frank Thomas, and all thrived with the network.
This is becoming a bit of a trend across all sports and all networks – recently retired younger players are getting jobs, and I have no problem with that. At ESPN, we’ve seen guys like Dallas Braden and Mark Mulder get a chance. Fox has given ex-NFL players like Scott Fujita and Randy Moss a chance to shine. TBS and, later, MLB Network brought Pedro Martinez into our lives. Giving fans more insightful, original analysis can only be a good thing, and hopefully Willis is able to provide that at Fox.