Dotel performing better than it seems

Octavio Dotel

Octavio Dotel - Getty Images

According to the box score, Octavio Dotel allowed a run in two innings yesterday, blowing a save and nearly costing the Pirates the win. In reality, the tying run scored when a simple ground ball somehow eluded the glove of second baseman Aki Iwamura and bounded into center field. Such is the life of a major league reliever. Relievers do not have the luxury of an additional four, five or six innings to cancel out a fluky run, as starting pitchers do. More importantly, pitchers can only control so many aspects of a game. This has been the downfall for Dotel this season.

Here are Dotel’s basic 2010 numbers.

ERA FIP xFIP
2010 10.61 6.33 4.49

The ERA is atrocious, the FIP is…umm… less awful…but still ugly, and the xFIP is reasonable. The difference between FIP and xFIP is home run rate, which has been a main source of Dotel’s troubles this year.

K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Dotel – Career 10.99 4.06 1.18
Dotel – 2010 11.57 4.82 2.89
2010 MLB 7.1 3.68 0.94

Dotel’s already stellar strikeout numbers are up a bit this year, although his slightly above average walk rate is also a little higher than usual. The most significant difference is the number of home runs he has allowed, more than twice his career rate. Generally speaking, pitcher can control the number of fly balls he allows, but it is generally up to the hitter to determine how far that fly ball travels. Home runs were a concern with Dotel coming into the season due to his high fly ball rate, so let’s take a look at his balls in play stats.

LD% GB% FB%
Dotel – Career 18.6% 31.8% 49.6%
Dotel – 2010 18.8% 31.3% 50.0%

These percentages are nearly identical to his career numbers. As I just mentioned, Dotel has always allowed a high number of fly balls, which has led to a below average home run rate. However, these numbers indicate that his extreme home run problems this season are more a factor of bad luck and small sample size than poor performance. Now, on to the underlying problems, the stats that are mostly out of his control.

AVG BABIP HR/FB LOB%
Dotel – Career 0.223 0.298 10.6% 75.3%
Dotel – 2010 0.363 0.456 18.8% 44.3%
2010 MLB 0.257 0.300 ~ 10%-12% 71.5%

Dotel’s batting average allowed is 140 points higher than his career mark. This is due to an extremely high batting average on balls in play (BABIP), which is 158 points higher than it has been over his entire career. Dotel’s LD/GB/FB rates all match his career numbers, indicating he is simply the victim of additional bad luck here. Furthermore, Dotel has stranded only 44.3% of base runners, well below both his career mark and the major league average. Pitchers have some control over their LOB% (better pitchers generally strand more runners), but it can fluctuate wildly in small samples based purely on random variation.

Dotel has not been great so far this season, but he has not pitched nearly as bad as it seems. In fact, he is performing very close to his career norm. And he has had a pretty successful career, producing the following numbers in 779.2 total innings.

ERA FIP xFIP
Career 3.81 3.83 3.59
Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Matt Bandi

Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.

Pitching Edition — Who’s Hot

Next Story »

Minors Notes: Kevin Hart to the DL, Michael Dubee to AAA

Latest Analysis

  • Arquimedes Caminero

    Breaking Down the Final Pirates Roster Battles After Today’s Cuts

    1 day ago

    With less than a week remaining in camp, the Pittsburgh Pirates made their latest round of cuts this morning, sending three relievers to minor league camp, including ...

    Read More
  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    3 days ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    4 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    5 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    6 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    1 week ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    1 week ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    2 weeks ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More