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Astros History: Talkin' 'Bout DR Pitching

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Houston has had an extensive history with Latin American players. This article spotlights Jose Lima, Octavio Dotel and Felipe Paulino, in that order.

Ezra Shaw

Today we take a look at three Astros Dominican fireballers who found their way to Kansas City for different reasons: Jose Lima, Octavio Dotel and Felipe Paulino.

Jose Lima joined the good guys via a multiplayer trade with Detroit in 1996 that included Brad Ausmus, Trever Miller, C.J. Nitkowski and Daryle Ward for Lima, Doug Brocail, Brian Hunter, Todd Jones, Orlando Miller and cash. Lima would be traded back to Detroit in 2002 for Dave Mlicki. Lima recorded a 46-42 record with a 4.77 ERA in 111 starts over five seasons in Houston. His best season came in 1999 when Lima tallied career highs in wins (21), ERA (3.58) and innings pitched (246.1) and finished fourth in Cy Young voting that year. My favorite Lima moment came on Aug. 1, 1998. It was the Astros' first game after acquiring Randy Johnson for an ill-fated playoff run. Lima responded to the acquisition by tossing a 10 strikeout, complete game against the Pirates, allowing one run, five hits and a walk en route to a 2-1 win.

Journeyman Octavio Dotel came to Houston in a trade with the New York Mets, along with Kyle Kessel and Roger Cedeño, with Mike Hampton and Derek Bell (the other original Killer B) departing for New York in 1999. A converted starter, Dotel compiled a 22-24 record in five seasons (10-12 in 20 games as a starter). Dotel was the main reason Houston did not miss in a beat in 2000 when Billy Wagner went down with an injury. Dotel saved 16 games in Wagner’s absence that season. He became the team closer in 2004 after Wagner departed for Philadelphia, but Dotel would be shipped to Oakland in a three-team trade that would net Carlos Beltran for Houston via the Royals.

Filipe Paulino is only one of three to come out of the Astros farm system. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2001, Paulino made his debut on Sept. 5, 2007 against the Milwaukee Brewers, giving up five runs in just three innings of work. Paulino’s tenure in Houston would be marred with injury and inconsistency. He compiled a record of 13-32 in 208.1 innings with an ERA of 5.83. It is interesting to note that in 2010, Paulino had the second highest average fastball velocity behind Ubaldo Jimenez. He also went 1-9 with an ERA over 5 that season. He would be traded after the season to Colorado for Clint Barmes.