Pirates Sign Dotel, Snag B. Jones Off Waivers

Pittsburgh Pirates signed RHP Octavio Dotel to a one-year deal with an option for the 2011 season.

The deal is pending a physical, and financial terms aren’t yet known. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Dejan Kovacevic reports that Dotel is expected to earn about $3 million in 2010, however.

The 36 year-old righty will take over ninth inning duties from Matt Capps, who was non-tendered in December and inked a $3.5 million deal with the Nationals in early January.

Dotel missed the majority of the 2005 and 2006 seasons following Tommy John surgery, then posted a 3.73 xFIP in 30.2 IP between the Royals and Braves in 2007 while serving DL stints for a strained oblique and a right shoulder strain.

Since then, the former Met, Astro, Athletic, Yankee, Royal, Brave and White Sock has turned in back-to-back healthy, productive campaigns. Over the past two years, Dotel has punched out 11.62 batters per nine innings, second-best among relievers (Jonathan Broxton takes top honors). His control wavers (4.52 BB/9) and he’s an extreme fly ball pitcher (34 GB%), but Dotel compiled a 3.72 xFIP with the South Siders in 2008 and 2009.

Pittsburgh’s new stopper flings his fastball over 80 percent of the time, supplementing the pitch with a low-80’s slider. Dotel’s Pitch F/X page suggests that he picked up the Cooper Cutter: there is a pronounced difference in vertical and horizontal movement between his four-seam fastball and cutter.

As Dave Allen showed, Dotel attacks hitters high in the zone with his heater, despite relatively modest velocity (he once sat in the mid-90’s, but now pops the gun at 92-93 MPH).

That up-the-ladder approach helps explain Dotel’s big whiff rates and fly ball tendencies: pitches high in the zone garner more swings and misses and fly balls, while pitches lower in the zone produce more contact and grounders. Dotel’s fastball(s) have a +0.40 run value per 100 pitches since 2008, while his slider checks in at +0.13. Octavio has the 12th-lowest contact rate among ‘pen arms over that time frame, at 71.9 percent.

Dotel’s new digs should help him, considering how often batters loft the ball against him when they manage to make contact. Per the 2010 Bill James Handbook, PNC Park suppressed home run production by 12 percent compared to a neutral park from 2007-2009. Compare that to his old home, U.S. Cellular Field. The Cell boosted taters by 25 percent compared to a neutral stadium over that same time period. CHONE projects a 3.72 FIP for Dotel next season, with 10.7 K/9 and 4.25 BB/9.

Pittsburgh Pirates claimed OF Brandon Jones off waivers from the Atlanta Braves.

Jones’ stay with the Bucs could be transient: the club apparently claimed the Braves farmhand off waivers with the intention of flipping him to another organization.

The 26 year-old lefty batter got cups of coffee with Atlanta in each of the past three seasons, posting an 81 wRC+ in 166 plate appearances. In 1,000+ PA at the Triple-A Level, Jones has a .277/.354/.420 triple-slash, walking in 11 percent of his trips to the plate and whiffing 18.3 percent.

While Baseball America rated him as the fourth-best prospect in the Braves’ system prior to the 2007 and 2008 seasons, Jones looks headed for a career as a handy fourth outfielder. He plays a nifty corner outfield according to TotalZone, and CHONE forecasts a .267/.342/.425 line in 2010.

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A recent graduate of Duquesne University, David Golebiewski is a contributing writer for Fangraphs, The Pittsburgh Sports Report and Baseball Analytics. His work for Inside Edge Scouting Services has appeared on ESPN.com and Yahoo.com, and he was a fantasy baseball columnist for Rotoworld from 2009-2010. He recently contributed an article on Mike Stanton's slugging to The Hardball Times Annual 2012. Contact David at david.golebiewski@gmail.com and check out his work at Journalist For Hire.

One Response to “Pirates Sign Dotel, Snag B. Jones Off Waivers”

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  1. bucsin2010 says:

    Jake at New Bucs has some interesting stats on his fastball:


    Vote -1 Vote +1

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