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Who Might Replace Octavio Dotel?

Posted By Eno Sarris On April 29, 2010 @ 1:20 pm In Closers | 4 Comments

Yesterday, we took a look at the guys that might replace Trevor Hoffman if he goes down with injury. Today, it’s time to look at another old dude poorly plying his trade at the back end of a bullpen – Octavio Dotel.

Dotel was a medium-priced low-risk signing that they could move out of the closer’s role without too much backlash, but the Bucs could also gain from pumping his value up and trading him to a contender, so they may give him some leash yet. He’s still doing his high-walk, high-strikeout thing, and is obviously suffering from his .456 BABIP-induced bad luck. His xFIP of 4.49 does not induce a ton of confidence on the other hand. His walks have been trending north for a while now, and he’s giving up over two home runs per nine right now. He could lose the role.

As with yesterday, we’ll run a few stats out for each contender. It seems that gmLI is a decent proxy for “Manager’s Confidence,” as it measures the leverage index of the situation at the point of the game when the pitcher enters. A higher gmLI means that the manager is consistently putting a player into the game in tough situations. As Brian Joura pointed out in the upcoming podcast, that could just be a relic of a manager’s static bullpen roles (he always pitches a certain guy in the 7th, and there have just happened to be a ton of high-leverage situations in the 7th this year), but a check of the leaderboard shows some of the better non-closer pitchers rank highly in gmLI. Also, we used holds plus saves over holds plus saves plus blown saves because a blown hold results in a blown save and that stat seems to better represent the save % for a pitcher who has been both a closer and a setup man.

Evan Meek 0.64 ERA, 2.85 xFIP, 4.23 career xFIP, 4/6 career holds+saves / opps, 0.69 2010 gmLI
DJ Carrasco 5.00 ERA, 3.31 xFIP, 4.47 career xFIP, 19/27 career holds+saves / opps, 0.87 2010 gmLI
Joel Hanrahan 9.95 ERA, 4.05 xFIP, 4.36 career xFIP, 28/37 career holds+saves / opps, 0.82 2010 gmLI
Javier Lopez 3.38 ERA, 6.52 xFIP, 4.51 career xFIP, 67/74 career holds+saves / opps, 0.95 2010 gmLI
Jack Taschner 4.91 ERA, 3.24 xFIP, 5.01 career xFIP, 33/42 career holds+saves / opps, 0.29 2010 gmLI
Brendan Donnelly 7.00 ERA, 6.19 xFIP, 4.07 career xFIP, 106/116 career holds+saves / opps, 1.37 2010 gmLI

Um, yeah, that’s a pretty terrible bullpen. And a terrible team that can barely get a high leverage situation to their relievers at all. Looks like the manager likes Donnelly’s experience, but he’s not providing results, and his career xFIP is not that much better than the obvious front-runner, Evan Meek. Lopez just has too poor a split vs righties to use as a closer (5.03 xFIP, 3.95 K/9 vs righties), and everyone else is scuffling. Taschner might be considered competition for Meek if only his gmLI was any higher. Looks like he’s got mop-up duty right now. Hanrahan is the only one that has been a closer, but he wasn’t especially good at it and almost has a double-digit ERA right now.

Meek was pretty good last year and cut his walk rate in half so far this year. He’s the best Dotel insurance and a sure-fire pickup in deeper leagues right now.


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