#MLBPlayers411 | Sean Doolittle
Sean Doolittle, today's #MLBPlayers411 subject, is on his way to Washington, D.C., to bring much-need bullpen help to the first-place Nationals.
Acquired along with fellow reliever Ryan Madson from the Oakland Athletics via trade this past weekend, Sean brings much needed depth to the Nats' bullpen, which is currently ranked last in the National League with a 5.31 ERA and .276 opposing batting average. In 23 games for the A's this season, the 30-year-old left-hander has held batters to a .158 average and tallied 31 strikeouts in 21.1 innings.
Sean, who had spent the entirety of his six-year MLB career with the team that drafted him back in 2007, took to Twitter to thank the Oakland faithful.
“It's nice to have guys who have done it before, guys who have pitched in big games and pitched in playoff games,” Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said about Sean and Madson. “…One's left-handed, one's right-handed. That gives us a little bit more balance in the bullpen. They're both capable of getting out both lefty and right-handed hitters. So they're very versatile, no egos, they're capable of pitching in the eighth or ninth inning. They've both done it.”
For Sean, he's “done it” in the Athletics organization for the last decade. He was the 41st overall selection back in the 2007 draft out of the University of Virginia. Before college, Sean attended Shawnee High School, roughly nine miles from his hometown of Tabernacle Township, N.J.
“I spent 10 years of my life in this organization, so it's weird to be leaving it,” Doolittle said. “I'm super grateful for the opportunity the A's gave me, allowing me to transition to pitching.”
An excellent hitter in both high school and for the collegiate Cavaliers (.312 batting average in college), Sean was originally drafted as a first baseman and outfielder. His batting stroke carried over to the Athletics farm system, where he batted .272 with 30 home runs over four minor-league seasons. But after knee surgeries in 2009 and again in 2010, Sean began the transition to pitcher.
After lowering his ERA to 0.82 in the early months of the 2012 season with Double-A Midland, Sean was called up to the big leagues and made his major-league debut against the Texas Rangers on June 5, 2012. He struck out the side on nothing but fastballs.
At the beginning of the 2014 campaign, Sean signed a five-year extension with the Athletics. While Sean has played a big role in the identity of the Oakland Athletics organization over the past six seasons, he has also meant a lot to the Bay Area off of the field as well.
Sean is very active with multiple charities, including Operation Finally Home, a nonprofit dedicated to providing housing for U.S. military veterans and their families, and Swords to Ploughshares, a Bay Area organization devoted to helping veterans with housing and employment. He was recognized for his efforts in 2016 when he was nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award.
“He's meant so much to this team not only on the field but off the field,” A's manager Bob Melvin said Sunday. “He really identifies with the fan base so it's tough to lose guys like that.”
In an April 2016 feature with ESPN, current A's bullpen coach Garvin Alston offered kind words on Sean.
“Sean is a goofball. He's very intelligent. His sense of humor is different. He's probably one of the biggest-hearted people around. He's a giver. He's just one of the best people in baseball, period.”
To learn more about Sean in the in-depth piece, click here.
Best of luck with the Nationals, Sean!
To see more photos of Sean, click here.
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