Sunday, March 28, 2010
#571) OCTAVIO DOTEL
Octavio Dotel was signed as a free agent on March 20, 1993. A native of the Dominican Republic who played there in the Mets' program until joining the Gulf Coast League Mets in 1995. Dotel worked his way to the Triple-A Norfolk Tides before he was promoted to the New York Mets to assume the struggling Jason Isringhausen's spot in the starting rotation. Octavio made his major league debut on June 26, 1999. Facing the rival Braves he would allow six runs in the four-plus innings and fall to Atlanta, and Tom Glavine by a score of 7-2. "I tried to tell him to calm down," Mets pitching coach Dave Wallace said, "He was just anxious, as any young man making his first major league start would be."
The hard-throwing 23 year-old rebounded well in his next starts. "I have to say that he is a young kid with a great future." evaluated Cubs star, Sammy Sosa after a Dotel victory over his Chicago team. Octavio's pitching was even beginning to draw comparisons to Pedro Martinez as his record swelled to 8-2. "I just want to be good every time, because they gave me a chance to be here," Dotel was quoted after a win. "... and you guys know we have a lot of starters. I just want to take the opportunities they give me." He was the winner of
the National League Player of the Week Award on
July 25, 1999.
In late September it was determined that Octavio would be moved to the bullpen. Concerns arose over the number of innings that he was being asked to throw. "I feel I'm a starting pitcher," Dotel responded, "but I've got in my heart that I can do whatever they're gonna do with me. I changed my mind right away. I do not know if my arm will change."
The New York Mets won the National League Wild Card following a one-game playoff with the Cincinnati Reds. Dotel, pitching from the bullpen, struggled in his only appearance facing the Arizona Diamondbacks during the NL Division Series. When the club advanced to face Atlanta in the NL Championship Series he would have a second opportunity for post season success. This time the rookie would be credited the victory in Game 5 of the series after three strong innings of work against the Braves. It would be the last time that Dotel took the mound at Shea Stadium as a New York Met. Octavio was traded with Roger Cedeno and Kyle Kessel to the Houston Astros in exchange for Mike Hampton and Derek Bell on December 23, 1999.
Octavio Dotel signed his card in the set for me when the Baltimore Orioles faced the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Florida on March 10, 2010.