33. Todd Doolittle -RHP - 5'10 - 175lbs
(last year: 30)
Going undrafted out of Mississippi State University, Todd Doolittle was considered a huge long shot to even make it to single A, let alone become a solid prospect. All that changed in 2006 when Doolittle, relieving for the first time (a pure starter in college), caught fire and dominated both Greensboro and Jupiter. Combining both stints in A ball, opposing batters hit a measly .171 off of him as he struck out nearly 11.5 batters per 9 innings. A bit old for the level of competition he was pitching against, it was still hard to ignore those kinds of numbers.
Enter 2007. I actually thought he would spend the year in Carolina, but instead he spent the year in the Florida State League with the Hammerheads. It was a tale of two halves for Todd as he was dominant before the break and terrible after it. In 27 innings before the All Star Break, Doolittle went 1-3 with a 2.33era, 9 walks and 24 strikeouts. After the break (in which he was a FSL All Star), he went 2-2 with a 5.18era in 24.1 innings. Interestingly enough, his batting average against went from .290 to .258, yet his numbers suffered because he gave up 5 homeruns, as opposed to 0 in the first half.
Last year was more of the same for Doolittle. He spent the season in Carolina and was unhittable much of the year. Southern league batters hit just .229 off him, and he struck out an awesome 61 in 44 innings of work. He threw 14 innings in the Arizona Fall League, giving up 13 hits, 6er, while allowing 5 walks and striking out 13.
Because of his overall size and throwing motion, he has garnered comparisons to former big league closer Jeff Brantley. His fastball runs about 92mph but because of his short arms, it appears to be a bit quicker. His slider is a plus pitch, registering at 55-60 on the 80 scale. He pitches with a chip on his shoulder because of how overlooked he was when he left MSU. Because of when he was signed, Todd was eligible to be taken in this season’s rule 5 draft. The Marlins caught a break as he was not taken. He’ll begin the season in AAA New Orleans and could be a contributor to the Marlins pen in 2009.