updated 09/01/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 09/01/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT
These days Dontrelle is still having much the same effect. Since breaking in with the Marlins, the 6'4" lefty has been compared to such past pitching greats as Vida Blue and not just because of his Rockette-high leg kick and funky windup. "I can't be compared. I haven't earned the right," Willis demurs. "But I'm trying." The 21-year-old's sparkling 9-1 first-half record earned him a trip to the All-Star game. (As of press time, he's 11-3.) And his ebullient personality is proving equally winning. This is, after all, a kid who still bunks with a teammate and his wife, calls his mom almost every day and wears her name inside his cap. "There's a charm about him, that joy of being there," says FOX baseball analyst Tim McCarver. "He has all the makings of a star."