The Sudden Plummet Of Dontrelle WillisS

Seriously, what in the world has happened to Dontrelle Willis? The guy used to be the next great face of baseball, a smiling, lovable African American in a sport that desperately needs more, with a whirly-gig windup and a youthful vigor for the game we hadn't seen since Griffey. And now ... he's pitching for Class A Lakeland. What?

The Baseball Prospectus folks have been warning that Willis has been waning for years, but to actually see it come to 10.32 ERA is beyond comprehension. When did it start to go wrong? We think it tracks back to December 2006 and his seemingly out-of-nowhere DUI arrest.

Police approached Willis, 24, about 4 a.m. after he stepped out of his black Bentley and urinated on the street. He was arrested the nightclub Mansion, said Bobby Hernandez, a department spokesman. Willis failed a field sobriety test, police said. He later refused a Breathalyzer test.

Was this a sign of upcoming trouble? Or just a guy needing to pee really badly? Come back, Dontrelle: We miss you already.

Marlins, Laugh Joke About Tigers Demoting Dontrelle Willis [Detroit Free Press]