What do you do instead?
This past Monday, a day before the World Series was to begin, the Seattle Mariners traded Adam Lind to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for pitcher Sean Doolittle.
Lind has been one of the few key players the White Sox have lacked since the trade deadline, and a starting pitcher to fill the void for some time. While the White Sox finished the season with a 90-82 record, Lind’s ERA would have ranked 18th in the American League. It was also only the 5th-lowest ERA in the AL.
However, with the White Sox struggling through injuries, they may be willing to pay Lind a bit to help bolster a shaky rotation. It’s unlikely the White Sox are going to use Lind as a starter, as the team needs to use some of its minor league arms to get back into contention for a World Series. That said, Doolittle may be an acceptable starting pitcher, and I can understand why White Sox fans liked him so much, so I’d like to get behind him. Here is why.
He’s the best reliever in the AL, and has very similar strengths to those of the Cubs’ Jon Lester. The White Sox will be asking Lind to pitch in his own zone and take care of the runners, as opposed to the Cubs’ Lester, who is known for being aggressive in seeking to hit his opponent. That said, Doolittle is almost always better equipped to shut down hitters than Lester is, and should be more durable. Doolittle is also slightly more experienced at the back of the bullpen, having been in the majors for four seasons prior to the White Sox trading him.
The big question for Doolittle will be dealing with his slider, which sits in the 94-96 mph range and has some serious sink, with the biggest break coming from 90-93. The biggest issues facing Doolittle now are his slider command and movement. His fastball sits in the high 80s, dropping in between 94-95 mph, but with a slower delivery than he possesses at times. His slider gets more horizontal after the middle, but as a result, his change-up loses velocity as he goes up; so, his slider will likely be a work in progress. Doolittle can still get a strike out, so he has the command to succeed at this type of pitching. The slider is also the only thing that is in a downward plane, unlike the four-seamer, which has a downward plane
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