Fantasy Baseball Profile: Should You Trust Octavio Dotel?

by Ryan Lester

Usually when I draft a closer I would hope he has topped 16 saves more than once in his career. If he doesn’t have a long track record as a closer, at least he’s the primary setup man. Strike two. Dotel has just two years of 30+ holds, and they date back to 2002 & 2003. If neither of those are the case, I hope he’s on a good team.  Foul tip. The Pirates are not good, but quality closers can come from bad teams. If those aren’t true, I hope he is full of potential. Strike three, you’re out. Dotel is 36 years old. You know who he is and what you’re going to get from him.

He struck out, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want him. Certainly not as a top 15 closer (Click to see Closer Rankings), but he’s a decent #2 and a solid #3.

Why you ask? Because of his strikeout potential. He’s been a beast the past two years with the White Sox with 167 strikeouts in 129.3 innings (11.6 K/9). That’s nothing new for Dotel. In fact, he has 940 strikeouts in 770.3 career innings (11.0 K/9).

While I don’t expect a gaudy save total from Dotel given the circumstances, but he should have a fair share with a decent ERA and WHIP. His biggest plus will be those strikeouts. That and the value he’ll come with as he goes in the latter stages of your fantasy draft.

Prediction:  27 saves, 3.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 85 Ks

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  1. Rotoprofessor says:

    I’m pretty close with the projections:

    3.60 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 30 Saves, 80 Ks

    As long as he’s not traded, to me, he should end up a solid #2 closer in all formats (which is why he came in at #17 on my rankings).

  2. I have him as a lower-tiered #2 closer, but would prefer to get two earlier and have him as a third.

  3. Josh says:

    I don’t think there has been a time in the last five years that Dotel has not been on my team as a LIMA reliever type. Now that he’s finally going to close, I love it. Everyone else will be scared away but I don’t see it.

    I would disagree with your three requirements for a closers, I look at four factors:
    1. Entrenchment in the position (The Pirates got him specifically to be their closer)
    2. Effectiveness (very high K/9, we’ll take the HRs)
    3. Injury Risk (it’s there, but it’s slight)
    4. Quality of Set-up Men (there’s no one in the bullpen to take over if Dotel struggles early besides Hanrahan (sp).

  4. MDS says:

    you dont need to trust him, hes not your team’s #1 closer

  5. @Josh As the RP indicated, he could get traded so the entrenchment isn’t fully there. He’s been effective out of the bullpen, but the closer gig is a whole new animal. It’s hard to say how he handles it. At his age, he becomes more of an injury risk, but every pitcher runs that risk.

    I am playing the devil’s advocate as I do like Dotel

    Well, you do need to trust him. When you take him there will be other closers available. If he loses the gig then you’re out a closer. There’s no guarantees you’ll get his replacement. So you need to choose your backup closers wisely.

  6. Eddy says:

    Dotel is a must-have on my squad this year. I plan on drafting at least 4 closers this year and picking up someone who can do either of the above projections AFTER Rd.18 is huge.

    I have high hopes for him and think he can break out and be a great bargain.

  7. MDS says:

    no no no. the only closers you can trust are

    Jonathan Broxton
    Joe Nathan
    Jonathan Papelbon
    Mariano Rivera
    Joakim Soria
    Andrew Bailey
    Trevor Hoffman
    Jose Valverde

  8. Rotoprofessor says:

    MDS, no one is suggesting that Dotel could be on the level of those other options, just that he does have value for fantasy owners.

    On another note, can we really say that we can trust Bailey off of one season? I’m not so sure about that.

  9. BLAZE says:

    If you don’t trust Bailey then you’re not looking at him hard enough. What exactly don’t you trust in? Is it the fact he has 3 outstanding pitches he can throw? His fastball is really really nasty. It averages 94 mph, over 10 inches of ‘rise’ and has a 31% whiff rate (misses per swings). That is the highest whiff rate of ANY fastball in the game last year. His curveball is one of the best from a reliever, worth almost half a win on its own. As I said he uses it very often against LHBs, against whom it moves in.

    Now will he repeat last years numbers? Maybe/Probably Not but i see no reason why he can’t be a sick closer again and that’s taking into account that his numbers should regress to the means.

    Most might say his MILB numbers show spotty control, But one thing to think about with his minor league numbers is that most of those came as a starter.

  10. Rotoprofessor says:

    BLAZE, I don’t disagree with what your saying, but he needs to do it a for a second season before I fully believe in him. Like you said, it’s highly unlikely that he repeats his ’09 success, so the million dollar question is how far he falls?

    I have him projected at 3.00 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 77 K and 30 saves, so it’s not like I am against him.

  11. Aaron says:

    I agree with MDS that you can’t trust any closer beyond the ones he mentioned.

    That being said, Dotel is a solid relief pitcher and you know what you are getting from him. I think the projections mentioned here are good ones.

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