BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 04: Octavio Dotel #29 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 4, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Octavio "Ducky" Dotel was pretty darned good for the Houston Astros, once they figured out how to maximize his talent. The right-hander came over to Houston in the Mike Hampton trade, along with Roger Cedeno and Kyle Kessel. He worked originally as a starter for Houston in 2000, but when Billy Wagner went down with an injury, Dotel turned to the bullpen.
After that, he never looked back, posting probably his best season in 2002, when he appeared in a team-record 83 games. He had a 1.85 ERA with 118 strikeouts in 97 1/3 innings. He also allowed just 58 hits in that season, which is a hit per nine inning rate of 5.36. Only two other pitchers in team history recorded rates that low and threw at least 50 innings. Those two? Billy Wagner and J.R. Richard.
Dotel was that good for a very short amount of time with Houston. I've commented before in these posts about how the Lidge-Dotel-Wagner bullpens may have been the best in franchise history. Dotel may get a bad rap for all the teams he's been on now and how he tended to give up the odd home run, but he was just as dominant as Wagner or Lidge. He just didn't get the spotlight to himself for long enough to capitalize.
Only six Astros pitchers have crossed the 80-game barrier and Lidge and Chad Qualls are the only two since Dotel to accomplish the feat. Dotel took the record away from Juan Agosto, who pitched in 82 games in 1990.