From BR Bullpen
Sean Robert Doolittle
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3", Weight 190 lb.
- School University of Virginia
- High School Shawnee High School
- Debut June 5, 2012
 Biographical Information
Sean Doolittle was a first-round draft pick in 2007. Drafted as a hitter, he made the majors five years later as a pitcher.
Doolittle was named New Jersey's high school player of the year by Baseball America and Gatorade. He was taken by the Atlanta Braves in the 39th round of the 2004 amateur draft as he was not expected to sign, having planned for college.
In 2005, Doolittle hit .313/.391/.522 as a freshman and went 3-2 with a 1.64 ERA and 2 saves in 22 games on the mound. Baseball America named him a freshman All-American at first base. In 2006, he made the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team - as a starting pitcher, though, not at first base. He was the Conference Player of the Year as well. He went 11-2 with one save and a 2.38 ERA on the mound and struck out 108 while allowing 64 hits and 21 walks in 91 IP. He batted .324/.454/.458 with 54 walks to 28 strikeouts at the plate. He was named a second team All-American utility man by Baseball America behind Brad Lincoln. He also played for the USA college national team, hitting .239 and slugging .327.
As a junior, Doolittle hit .301/.420/.465 and went 8-3 with a 2.40 ERA. He finished as the school's all-time leader in both wins (22) and RBI (167). He was second in offensive walks (125) and fourth in pitching strikeouts (243). He again was first-team All-Conference. The Oakland Athletics took Doolittle with the 41st pick of the 2007 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Neil Avent for $742,500 and began his pro career that summer.
Doolittle debuted professionally with the Vancouver Canadians on June 20th, going 3 for 5 with a double and a run against the Tri-City Dust Devils. Doolittle split 2008 between the Stockton Ports and Midland RockHounds, hitting 22 homers with a .286/.358/.495 line.
Doolittle advanced to AAA with the Sacramento River Cats in 2009, but his season was ended after 28 games by tendinitis in both knees. Eventually he needed surgery on his left knee, and he missed all of the next two seasons, except for 1 game in 2011 with AZL Athletics as a pitcher. Finally healthy in 2012 and now a full-time relief pitcher, Sean rocketed up the A's organization at warp speed. He began the year with Stockton of the California League, where he struck out 21 batters in 10 1/3 innings and put up an ERA of 0.87 in 6 games. He was immediately moved up to AA Midland, and put up similarly eye-popping numbers: 11 innings pitched, 2 hits allowed, 4 walks and 19 strikeouts. After 8 games in AA, he was promoted to AAA Sacramento, and continued to retire just about every batter he faced, giving up a hit and a walk in 3 2/3 innings, while striking out 8. In barely 2 months of pitching in the minors over two seasons, he had accumulated 26 innings, with an ERA of 1.04, 8 hits allowed, 8 walks, and a stunning 50 strikeouts. The A's called him up to Oakland on June 4th, and he made his major league debut the next day. As he explained:
"I thought it would be more of a process than this. I'm just as surprised as everybody else to be honest that the transition has gone as smoothly as it has. Never in a million years would I think having two months under my belt pitching that I'd be here."
In his first pitching appearance in the majors, Doolittle entered the game against the Texas Rangers in the 5th inning in relief of starter Travis Blackley with two outs and a runner on third. He struck out slugger Nelson Cruz to end the inning, then struck out Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba to start the 6th, before Craig Gentry finally managed to put the ball in play, a soft line drive to first baseman Kila Ka'aihue. He left the game after that inning, having impressed all observers. He ended up making 44 appearances out of the A's bullpen that season, and was an important contributor to a completely unexpected division title. He went 2-1 with a 3.01 ERA and 1 save, striking out 60 batters in 47 1/3 innings, against only 40 hits and 11 walks. He pitched three times in the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits in 2 2/3 innings; two of the runs were unearned, and he struck out 5 batters while walking none.
His brother is Ryan Doolittle.