Hello There: Sean Doolittle Hired as Nationals Pitching Strategist

A familiar face will be returning to the Nationals in a new capacity. What exactly will Sean Doolittle be doing as the Nationals' new Pitching Strategist?
Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals
Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals / G Fiume/GettyImages
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In case you didn't pick up on Obi-Wan Kenobi reference in "Hello there", the Nationals will welcome back a familiar and beloved face in Sean Doolittle. The lefty and team legend is a well-known face to Nats fans, who watched him pitch for the franchise for 5 years and record 75 career saves with the team, including Game 1 of the 2019 World Series.

When Doolittle announced his retirement in September, it was a bittersweet moment for us fans as yet another player from that 2019 team was officially parting ways with the organization. But alas, DC's favorite Star Wars connoisseur will be back with the team as a pitching strategist, announced by the team Tuesday afternoon.

What exactly is a pitching strategist? It is a new position the team has created that involves Doolittle working with manager Davey Martinez and pitching coach Jim Hickey to function as a liaison with Nationals pitchers on mental strategy and pitching mechanics, as well as analytics.

Basically, Doolittle is going to be the middle man between the team's analytics department and the players. He basically is going to be bridging a gap from the guys behind the scenes to the players in the locker room, and can offer valuable testimonies and advice as a former All-Star and late inning man on a World Series team. Considering Davey Martinez and Jim Hickey are not exactly proponents of advanced analytics, Doolittle might serve a great purpose in this new venture. There is certainly a fan-service-y aspect to this hire, but Doolittle is honestly a great fit for this role considering his experience and attachment to the franchise and DC as a whole.

The mental aspect is the area where I am most excited to see his impact in this new position, as pitchers don't get the chance every day to go out and put forth their best effort in-game. For the young arms the team will likely feature this year in the rotation, they will only get a chance every 5 or 6 days to go out and show off their new talents and mental advantages that they will be learning from Doolittle and the analytics department. Building block arms in the bullpen such as Hunter Harvey, Kyle Finnegan, and Jordan Weems will also be able to closely relate to Doolittle, as the former reliever went through many ups and downs in his career, as they have as well, and has shown a lot of mental toughness and perseverance over the years to be able to work back from numerous injuries that impacted his career.

This is a big step for the Nationals, who left many fans disappointed this past season after the inconsistent performances from youngsters such as MacKenzie Gore and Josiah Gray as well as the bullpen as a whole. Personally, I am excited to see Doolittle grow and develop in this role, as the team takes another step towards becoming more analytically competent. It will be interesting to see young arms like Gore, Gray, Cade Cavalli, Jake Irvin, and Jackson Rutledge, among others, utilize the advice and mentorship of Doolittle. I am excited to keep the Doolittle family in DC and around the team that he and his wife Eirann have grown to love so much for over half a decade now.

To Sean and his family, we are excited to have you back with the organization in this new role, and "May the Force be with you."