Sean Doolittle
Sean Doolittle
33-Year-Old PitcherRP
Washington Nationals
2020 Fantasy Outlook
While Doolittle was instrumental in the Nationals' well-documented turnaround, he ceded the closer job to Daniel Hudson come playoff time. Effective early, Doolittle notched three wins and three saves in 13.1 innings by April 30, with a 1.35 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. Doolittle cruised through late July before the wheels came off. From July 29 on, Doolittle registered a 7.35 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 17 innings, and made a trip to the IL with knee soreness. During his absence, Hudson took over closing duties. The two shared the role in September before Hudson claimed it outright. Doolittle's fastball sat around 93.4 mph all season, so fatigue doesn't appear to be a factor for his slide despite him working 60 frames after averaging 45.1 a year the three previous campaigns. Hudson returned and the team also signed Will Harris, so Doolittle's leash will be short. With durability and performance issues, he's at best a second closer in mixed formats. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a five-year, $10.5 million contract extension with the Athletics in April of 2014. Traded to the Nationals in July of 2017. Nationals exercised $6 million team option for 2019 in October of 2018. The Nationals exercised the $6.5 million team option for 2020 in November of 2019.
Set for spring debut Sunday
PWashington Nationals
March 1, 2020
Doolittle will make his first appearance of the spring Sunday, Jessica Camerato of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
The club has held the somewhat injury-prone southpaw back to begin camp, but Doolittle is ready to begin his Grapefruit League campaign in earnest. While he may end up splitting closer duties with Daniel Hudson, Doolittle will be firmly in the ninth-inning mix after racking up more than 20 saves each of the last four seasons.
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Pitching Stats
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2019
2018
2017
2019 MLB Game Log
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Scoring
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2018 MLB Game Log
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2017 MLB Game Log
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Minor League Game Log
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Pitching Appearances Breakdown
Average Pitch Count
17
Last 10 Games
16
Last 5 Games
16
How many pitches does Sean Doolittle generally throw?
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
What part of the game does Sean Doolittle generally pitch?
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
% Games Reaching Innings Threshold
% Games By Number of Innings Pitched
Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-25%
BAA vs LHP
2019
 
 
-21%
BAA vs LHP
2018
 
 
-79%
BAA vs LHP
2017
 
 
-26%
BAA vs LHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .162 160 57 9 24 4 3 2
Since 2017vs Right .217 460 131 22 94 14 0 17
2019vs Left .221 80 23 2 17 3 3 2
2019vs Right .279 180 43 13 46 7 0 9
2018vs Left .033 35 20 4 1 0 0 0
2018vs Right .160 128 40 2 20 3 0 3
2017vs Left .146 45 14 3 6 1 0 0
2017vs Right .196 152 48 7 28 4 0 5
More Splits View More Split Stats
Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-30%
ERA on Road
2019
 
 
-11%
ERA at Home
2018
 
 
-18%
ERA on Road
2017
 
 
-75%
ERA on Road
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2017Home 3.39 1.07 87.2 9 5 35 11.0 1.5 1.5
Since 2017Away 2.36 0.80 68.2 2 3 43 10.6 2.1 0.5
2019Home 3.86 1.43 35.0 5 2 15 9.5 2.3 2.3
2019Away 4.32 1.12 25.0 1 3 14 10.4 2.2 0.7
2018Home 1.73 0.58 26.0 3 3 9 12.1 0.7 0.7
2018Away 1.42 0.63 19.0 0 0 16 11.8 1.9 0.5
2017Home 4.39 1.09 26.2 1 0 11 11.8 1.4 1.4
2017Away 1.09 0.61 24.2 1 0 13 9.9 2.2 0.4
More Splits View More Split Stats
Stat Review
How does Sean Doolittle compare to other relievers?
This section compares his stats with all relief pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 30 innings)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against 2019 data (min 30 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
K/BB
4.40
 
K/9
9.9
 
BB/9
2.3
 
HR/9
1.7
 
Fastball
93.5 mph
 
ERA
4.05
 
WHIP
1.30
 
BABIP
.335
 
GB/FB
0.54
 
Left On Base
81.5%
 
Exit Velocity
90.9 mph
 
Barrels/BBE
8.1%
 
Spin Rate
2221 rpm
 
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
42.2%
 
Swinging Strike
12.7%
 
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2010
The Nationals picked up Doolittle's bargain $6 million club option in October. While he added another chapter to his extensive injury history with a foot injury that sidelined him for two months, Doolittle performed well when on the field, going 25-for-26 in save chances. He earned another All-Star berth and settled the team's nerves with a 2.35 ERA in September following his activation from the disabled list. The 32-year-old hasn't walked more than 1.9 batters per nine in a season since 2015, has struck out fewer than 9.9 per nine once and over the past three years, owns a 15.9% swinging-strike rate and a 70.3% first-strike rate which ranks third among all relievers. As long as the draft-day cost comes with some missed time baked in, this should be worthwhile investment as these skills are close to elite and nobody in the Washington bullpen represents a major threat to his role (not even Trevor Rosenthal).
Doolittle logged his highest innings count since 2014, despite a shoulder strain in the first half that put him on the disabled list for a five-week stretch in the first half. Fortunately, there was no structural damage in his arm, and he held up once he was activated, showing the top-end skills necessary to be a very effective late-inning reliever again. The Nats acquired him along with Ryan Madson at the non-waiver trade deadline in July, and Doolittle went on to finish 21-for-22 in save opportunities while helping to fortify a major weakness on the roster. Doolittle operates with three pitches, but he leans very heavily on his fastball, which typically sits between 94-96 mph and is often located effectively around the top of the strike zone where hitters simply can't catch up to it. Look for him to open 2018 as the preferred ninth-inning option in Washington, where he could prove to be a steady mid-tier closer again.
More shoulder issues limited Doolittle's season -- sound familiar? He hasn't topped 40 innings in the last two years, and his rust probably contributed to him allowing a career-worst 1.38 home runs per nine innings. Of course, Doolittle showed a lot of positives. Doolittle continued whiffing batters to boost his career K/9 to 10.4, and his walk rate finished at 2.1 or lower for the fourth time in five years. He's had at least one save in every season, which makes him one of the better speculative relievers after all closers are off the board. The situation is no different this year with the A's, who has Ryan Madson and an erratic cast of characters behind him, none of whom would stand in the way of a healthy Doolittle. He owns the best skills in this bullpen, and if Doolittle stays healthy, he could match or top the 22 saves he collected in 2014.
After an All-Star season in 2014 that saw Doolittle claim the A's closer job while amassing 22 saves to go along with a 12.8 K/9, an offseason shoulder injury cost Doolittle nearly all of the 2015 season. Doolittle had a slight tear in the rotator cuff of his left shoulder and was able to return in May, but it was for only one appearance (where he was topping out at 89 mph) and he returned to the DL until late August. He had a 3.95 ERA in his 13.2 innings and managed to strike out more than a batter per inning, but he never looked like quite the same pitcher and his average fastball velocity dropped from 94.0 mph in 2015 to 92.4 in 2015. His swinging-strike rate fell to a career-low 9.8%, but it was in a short number of innings and the A's were just hoping he was able to get on the mound and show some health in that stretch. If healthy at the outset of spring training, Doolittle should resume his role as the A's closer.
After Jim Johnson imploded in the closer role, Doolittle finally took the reins and was exceptional, racking up 22 saves even though he didn't get the job until mid-May. He also lost time to a DL stint, missing three weeks late in the season. Once he was the closer, aside from a hiccup in late June where he had back-to-back blown saves, he had only one blown save. The most amazing aspect of Doolittle's season has to be the ridiculous 89:9 K:BB ratio he finished the season with. He will miss the start of the year with a slight rotator cuff tear, opening the door for Tyler Clippard to slot in as the A's closer. However, with a career ERA under 3.00 and career 10.5 K/9 (even higher in 2014 at 12.8 K/9), there little reason why he can't reclaim the job and once again flourish in the ninth-inning role.
Doolittle's impressive transformation from first baseman to reliever continued in 2013 as he managed an ERA approaching 3.00 and a WHIP under 1.00. His strikeout rate dropped from an incredible 11.4 K/9 in 2012 to 7.8 K/9 in 2013, but he also dropped his walk rate and carried a lower H/9 as he learned how to pitch more efficiently in his second season with the A's. Perhaps Doolittle's most impressive stat was that he led the American League in only allowing 6.3 percent of inherited runners to score. The acquisition of Jim Johnson likely prevents Doolittle from getting the first crack at the ninth inning in 2014, but he has a chance to end up saving games for the A's if the team is comfortable removing him from the mix in the seventh and eighth inning. Further, Doolittle has actually been more effective against righties in his first two years, so the A's may decide they are comfortable with him as a closer at some point in the not-so-distant future.
Doolittle was one of the most incredible, yet unsung stories in baseball last year. After operations on both knees and a tendon injury in his right wrist, Doolittle converted from playing first base to become a relief pitcher. After a grand total of 17 appearances across three minor league levels (where he sported a minuscule ERA), Doolittle was called up and ended the season as the lefty reliever that manager Bob Melvin called on late in games. He does not attempt to fool anyone and relies almost solely on the gas (he threw 86.8 percent fastballs in 2012), but still had an exceptional 11.4 K/9. Doolittle figures to be very busy for the A's in the seventh and eighth inning of games, but he will not have much fantasy value in most leagues due to a lack of saves.
Doolittle lived up to his last name again, this year missing the entire season due to wrist injuries after missing the prior two seasons with a knee injury. The A's have given up on him as a hitter, deciding to return him to the mound (he pitched during his college days at Virginia) for one inning in the Arizona Rookie League. They thought enough of him to keep him on the 40-man roster this winter, though there's no telling how his return to the mound will play out.
A knee injury cut short Doolittle's season at Triple-A Sacramento after just 28 games. The A's are trying him in the outfield, likely as a result of Chris Carter's emergence at first base, and while Doolittle hasn't been terrible (.267/.364/.448) he hasn't done a ton to distinguish himself from a typical decent hitting prospect. He doesn't figure to be in the A's plans in 2010, and doesn't project as much more than a reserve player.
More Fantasy News
Getting eased into spring
PWashington Nationals
February 24, 2020
Doolittle has no timetable for his Grapefruit League debut as the Nationals carefully monitor his spring workload, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports.
ANALYSIS
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Nationals exercise 2020 option
PWashington Nationals
November 2, 2019
The Nationals will pick up Doolittle's $6.5 million club option for 2020, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Posts 29th save
PWashington Nationals
September 25, 2019
Doolittle allowed one hit and struck out the side during the ninth in a save against the Phillies on Wednesday.
ANALYSIS
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Pitches clean eighth inning
PWashington Nationals
September 24, 2019
Doolittle pitched a perfect inning in Tuesday's 4-1 win over the Phillies in the first game of a doubleheader, retiring all three batters without a strikeout.
ANALYSIS
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Given vote of confidence
PWashington Nationals
September 24, 2019
Manager Dave Martinez confirmed Tuesday that Doolittle remains his closer, Byron Kerr of MASN Sports reports.
ANALYSIS
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