Toronto Blue Jays to Sign Reliever Rafael Dolis out of Japan

According to TSN’s Scott Mitchell, the Blue Jays are “in agreement” with righthanded reliever Rafael Dolis who has spent the last four years pitching in Japan.


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Dolis, 32, hails from the Dominican Republic and was originally signed in August 2004 by the Chicago Cubs as a shortstop. He was converted to being a pitcher quite early in his career and, when he made his US debut for the Cubs’ Arizona Rookie League club in 2006, he was a pitcher. After six starts in 2007, he tore his UCL and missed all of 2008 after Tommy John surgery. He returned in 2009 to climb the ladder, reaching the majors in 2011 for a cup of coffee. In 2012, he made 34 appearances with the Cubs while making five more appearances at the major league level in 2013. Dolis was known as a hard thrower, averaging about 95 mph on his fastball with the Cubs. He spent 2014 and 2015 with San Francisco’s and Detroit’s organizations, respectively, staying in Triple-A in both years.



In 2016, Dolis left the US for Japan, joining the Hanshin Tigers which was where his career really took off. He had a combined 2.49 ERA over 206 innings with Nippon Professional Baseball, earning 96 saves while posting a 1.06 WHIP and 227 strikeouts (9.9 K/9).


Scott Mitchell calls Dolis “the most interesting bullpen arm” the Blue Jays have added this offseason and I’ve found reports of Dolis hitting 98 mph at the major leagues and hitting 100 in the minors along with a “wicked slider that can miss bats with ease.” He also tends to get a lot of ground balls, although that’s from a scouting report that’s over four years old. While in the US, command was certainly an in issue, he seems to have been able to rein his control in while in Japan, going from a BB/9 rate of over 5.00 for much of his later minor league career to one that was only 2.7 with Hanshin in Japan.


Mitchell doesn’t specify the dollar figure on Dolis’s contract but he gives the impression that it’s a major league deal with an option for 2021.


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