Nathan Dettmer stepped up when Texas A&M needed him most last season. The then-sophomore right-handed pitcher took the hill in an elimination game against red-hot Notre Dame at the 2022 College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
He struck out six batters and allowed three hits and zero walks in seven shutout innings to help the Aggies defeat Notre Dame.
It marked the final start of an up-and-down season for Dettmer. He posted a 4.99 ERA with 82 strikeouts and 25 walks allowed in 92 innings. It was an improved showing for Dettmer, who pitched 36 1/3 innings more innings and cut his walks per nine innings nearly in half compared to his freshman season.
Dettmer believes his first two seasons will benefit him during his junior season this spring. Expectations are high for the Texas A&M ace, who most likely will be among the top pitchers in college baseball.
“I never had that much of a workload,” Dettmer said. “I’d call it a huge success. I did realize who I am as a pitcher and what my strengths, weaknesses, and what I need to get better at.”
Dettmer entered college baseball as a well-regarded prospect who received some interest from professional scouts leading up to the 2020 MLB draft.
Attending Texas A&M has positively impacted Dettmer over the last two years. He has developed his skills, transforming from a thrower to a complete pitcher, and improved his mindset on the mound. He is now considered a potential early-round pick in July’s draft.
“Going through it now, it is much different,” Dettmer said. “It is busier, with meeting and talking with people. There is a buzz about it. But I think the main goal is to stay where my feet are and focus on what I can do now to improve my game.”
Dettmer is a 6-foot-5, 235-pound right-handed pitcher who throws a sinker, slider, changeup and a newly-developed four-seam fastball from an over-the-top arm slot.
Dettmer’s best pitch is his above-average sinker. It sits in the low-to-mid-90s and touched 99 mph in fall practice. He uses a two-seam grip for his sinker. It has plenty of downward movement and generates plenty of swings and misses and weak contact if a batter manages to hit it.
His slider is a quality-breaking pitch that tunnels well off his sinker. It has plenty of horizontal movement. He tightened up his slider in the fall, hoping to make it a harder-breaking pitch rather than a slurve.
Dettmer’s circle changeup is an above-average pitch that is his go-to off-speed pitch. He has plenty of confidence in his mid-80s offering, as it has been arguably his best pitch since high school. His changeup generates weak contact.
Dettmer has the size, durability and potential teams seek in a college pitcher. He projects as at least a middle-of-the-rotation starter in pro ball.
“Right now, my attitude is a huge strength for me, especially going through last year and having those struggles,” Dettmer said. “Just having that positive attitude every day, coming back to the field, and being so blessed that we get to play such a great game and have so much fun doing it.”
This spring, Dettmer hopes to show improvement in his control and consistency. He believes his work during the offseason will help him accomplish that this season.
“In the fall, a big key we worked on was the mental side of the game,” Dettmer said. “We also worked on me just getting more confident in my abilities and have the awareness of what the batter and the coaches are thinking and knowing what to throw when.”
Last season, Texas A&M qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2019. The Aggies entered the tournament as the No. 5 national seed. They made an impressive run to the College World Series under first-year coach Jim Schlossnagle, who previously held the same role at Texas Christian University.
The Aggies lost in the College World Series semifinals to Oklahoma to finish with a 44-20 record.
With Dettmer leading the Texas A&M staff, the Aggies enter this season as one of the top teams in college baseball and a legitimate contender to return to the College World Series.
“We all want to win a national championship, and we are all working towards that every single day,” Dettmer said. “We aren’t going to rest until it happens.”
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for eight years. He has interviewed 433 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.