Previewing the Tigers: Octavio Dotel looks to shore up late innings

LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 28: Octavio Dotel #20 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a portrait on February 28, 2012 at Joker Marchant Staduim in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

We're continuing our previewing of the Detroit Tigers player by player. Expect much of the bullpen and the bench players to be doubled up a bit during the final week before the season, but we'll goone a day until then, by uniform numbers. I reserve the right to go out of order either on purpose or by accident. And now it's on to the bullpen. ...

Octavio Dotel #20
RHP

This season, the 38-year-old right-hander joins his 700th major league team. Well, somewhere around there, anyway. Octavio Dotel has pitched for so many teams he probably has to wear team-specific underwear with his apartment address stitched in them so he remembers where to go. Or something like that. Clearly you don't visit here for the joke quality over replacement blogger. You just want to know what to expect of Dotel.

Dotel has managed to do one thing very well over the course of his career: Strike batters out. He consistently strikes out better than a batter per inning. During the peak of his pitching career, he struck out better than 12 batters per nine innings on the mound. Over the past few seasons, that number has steadily decreased. In 2011, it was as low as 10.33. Still, that's pretty good.

In the past he's struggled with walking batters. It's not an uncommon theme: the relief pitcher who strikes out a lot but issues free passes like candy on Easter. However, Dotel had that under control last season and had a walk per nine innings rate of 2.83.

He's probably going to see his BABIP go up, because .229 in 2011 is a lot less than the .277 lifetime average. But he ought to be a useful enough pitcher for Detroit anyway. I'll project an ERA around 3.50 and let's see what happens.

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