- Full name Sean Robert Doolittle
- Born 09/26/1986 in Rapid City, SD
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 218 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Virginia
- Debut 06/05/2012
Drafted in the C-A round (41st overall) by the Oakland Athletics in 2007 (signed for $742,500).
View Draft ReportAs a polished two-way prospect out of a New Jersey high school, Doolittle had all the makings of a perennial all-American candidate when he arrived at Virginia. He stepped into the Cavaliers' starting lineup as a freshman and slammed 11 home runs, but has hit just 11 since, including seven this season as a junior. His swing lacks loft and he hasn't significantly improved his strength, leading to comparisons to former major leaguer Dave Magadan and Dodgers prospect James Loney. He's an intelligent hitter with a patient, cerebral approach. He uses the whole field and shows command of the strike zone. He's also an above-average defender with smooth actions around the bag at first base. Because of doubts regarding his power potential, Doolittle might be around in the second round of the draft. He struggled from the mound this year and isn't considered a frontline pro prospect as a lefthanded pitcher.
Organization Prospect Rankings
A 2007 sandwich pick who signed for $742,500, Doolittle quickly hit his way to Triple-A but hasn't played since May 2009. He fought tendinitis in both knees that year, with his left knee eventually requiring surgery. That operation and subsequent physical therapy didn't get him back to full strength, and after a setback in his rehab, he had a second operation in August 2010. When healthy, Doolittle was one of the organization's top hitting prospects. He has a quick, easy swing with an all-fields approach. He added strength and weight after coming out of college, though he has just average power. He was a two-way player at Virginia and the A's moved him to right field to utilize his arm strength, but his knee problems may preclude him playing the outfield. He was already a below-average runner before the surgeries. The good news is that he's a plus defender at first base. The A's showed their belief in Doolittle's bat by adding him to the 40-man roster after the season. Barring another setback, he'll resume his career at Sacramento this year.
A two-way standout as a first baseman and lefthander at Virginia, Doolittle signed for $742,500 as a sandwich pick in 2007. After a strong first full pro season, he hit .329/.441/.724 with 11 RBIs in big league camp last spring, setting the stage for a big league callup later in the year. But tendinitis in both knees ruined his season, which ended in early May. His left knee eventually required surgery. Doolittle has bulked up and become more power-oriented since turning pro. He has a disciplined, all-fields approach and hangs in well against lefthanders. His swing is short to the ball and sound mechanically. A first baseman until last year, he moved to right field to take advantage of his above-average arm strength. The A's think he's athletic enough to handle the position, and always can move back to first, where he was an above-average defender with smooth actions. Though Doolittle has gotten stronger as a pro, scouts still don't project him to have more than fringe to average power. He's a below-average runner who isn't a threat on the bases. If he loses a step after knee problems, he won't be able to stay in right field. Following his surgery, Doolittle may not be ready for the start of spring training. Nevertheless, he looks like a safe bet to be a solid big league hitter, and he could develop more power. He'll return to Triple-A once he's healthy.
New Jersey's high school player of the year in 2004, Doolittle turned down the Braves as a 39th-rounder to attend Virginia, where he was a two-way star and the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year as a sophomore. He signed with the A's for $742,500 as a supplemental first-round pick in 2007 and took up hitting fulltime. Without having to split his time between pitching and hitting, Doolittle has bulked up, adding strength and power to his game, a striking difference from his days with the Cavaliers, when he was a disciplined hitter with a contact-oriented approach. Though he still showed patience in his first full season, Doolittle swung and missed enough to strike out 153 times. He uses the opposite field well but he chases pitches out of the strike zone at times. While athletic, he's a below-average runner. The A's gave Doolittle some playing time in the outfield last year, but he fits best at first base, where he's a plus defender with smooth actions. He has the arm strength to play right field but still is learning to make the longer throws after converting from the mound. After a lateseason promotion to Double-A, Doolittle should return to Midland to open the 2009 season. Oakland signed his younger brother Ryan, a righthander, as a 26th-round pick out of Cumberland (N.J.) CC in 2008.
A standout two-way player in high school, Doolittle was a 39th-round pick of the Braves in 2004, when he was New Jersey's player of the year. He continued to star both ways at Virginia, where he was the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year as a sophomore. The A's drafted him for his bat, taking him 41st overall last June and signing him for $742,500. Doolittle has a sound approach with a smooth, economical swing, making consistent line-drive contact to all fields. His strike-zone judgment is also a plus. He's an above-average defender with smooth actions and soft hands at first base. Doolittle hit 11 home runs during his freshman year, but showed little power the following two years at Virginia or during his pro debut. His swing lacks loft and leverage, and strength was another issue as he significantly wore down over the course of the year. He still needs to incorporate more of his lower half in his swing. He's more athletic than Daric Barton, but he's also a below-average runner. The A's bumped Doolittle to low Class A after just two weeks at short-season Vancouver, and he struggled at times. He'll likely repeat the Midwest League to start 2008.
Minor League Top Prospects
Doolittle was a polished hitter when he came out of Virginia in the 2007 draft, but he upped the ante this season by showing power that hadn't been evident since his freshman year in college. He held down the No. 3 spot in a potent Stockton lineup before earning a promotion to Double-A in July. Scouts always have been impressed by Doolittle's pure hitting and defense, and he gives pitchers headaches with his smooth stroke and patience. He swung and missed too much this year, but it was an acceptable tradeoff for the improved power he showed. While he will never be a masher, he should be able to hit 15-25 homers per season in the big leagues. His defense is terrific at first base, and he's athletic enough to play in the outfield. San Jose manager Steve Decker compared him to J.T. Snow with a better bat.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Reliever in the Texas League in 2012
- Rated Best Batting Prospect in the California League in 2008
- Rated Best Defensive 1B in the California League in 2008