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Just The Sports: Octavio Dotel Is No Savior

Just The Sports

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Octavio Dotel Is No Savior

Octavio Dotel may be ready to pitch out of the Yankees bullpen, but his arrival is really nothing to get excited about. Coming off Tommy John surgery is bad enough for a pitcher, but Dotel was not necessarily performing at a consistently high level when he was pitching.

For all intensive purposes, Dotel has been in a steady decline since 2001. His fielding-independent ERA has been steadily going up, starting at 2.46 in 2001 and going up to 3.62 in 2004. His 2005 season where he only pitched 15.3 innings before having to undergo Tommy John surgery will not be used against him, but it doesn't really need to be in order to point out Dotel is in a decline.

His home run rate has also increased over the same span, another red flag for a relief pitcher who is a flyball pitcher or any pitcher for that matter. Flyball pitchers are usually better than groundball pitchers, but not when the flyball pitchers give up a lot of home runs relative to innings pitched.

Another thing that bears mentioning is the Yankees bullpen has not been horrible this season. No, it has not been great, but it has been serviceable. Actually, the bullpen this year has been more consistent than it was in 2005 when it was led by Tom Gordon and Mariano Rivera and followed by no one else.

Mariano Rivera has been a worse than last year, but worse for Rivera is still pretty good. Farnsworth hasn't been as bad as people think. His .929 Wins Above Replacement Level (WXRL) is good for third on the Yankees, slightly behind Ron Villone's. Mike Myers has been very effective in his job to get out the opponents' left-handed batters.

What Torre needs to do is to make absolutely sure he allow his best relievers to pitch in the highest leverage situations. One way he can do this is to make sure he uses Ron Villone in the situations where the game matters the most and keep Scott Proctor pitching innings that have a lower leverage score.

There is no evidence that Dotel will help the Yankees or that they particularly need him.


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