Aug 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) delivers a pitch in the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
As the season gets underway, RoxPile.com is making some fun (but completely unqualified!) predictions about how members of the Colorado Rockies will fare this summer. In this edition: Adam Ottavino.
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Adam Ottavino asserted himself as a shutdown reliever for the Colorado Rockies last year.
His dependability and consistency was about the only thing that went right in a much maligned pitching staff in 2014.
With high expectations, a dirty slider, and a fastball that touches 98 mph to go along with it, 2015 could very well be the year of Ottavino among the Rockies’ relief corps.
What The Numbers Say
FanGraphs lists various projection systems, which you can learn more about here.
All three projections systems anticipate a very slight regression from Ottavino in a few different ways relative to 2014. They believe he’ll throw in fewer games than a year ago, strike out slightly fewer batters than his 9.69 per nine innings from last summer, and earn ERA and FIP numbers just a tick higher than his last campaign.
Really, considering the slight differences, projections think he’s going to have more or less the same season as he did last year, albeit in slightly fewer ballgames. One interesting projection though: systems believe he’ll top out at six saves, while most Rockies’ followers recognize him as the closer-in-waiting.
Call to the Pen
Obviously, a best-case scenario for Ottavino involves the closer’s role.
Considering what he’s been able to thus far accomplish early in the year with a 97-98 mph fastball and a filthy slider, saves can’t be far.
Aside from that, topping 10 strikeouts per nine innings and holding opponents to a sub-.250 average against (batters hit .266 off him last year) would prove Ottavino is an effective and consistent relief pitcher.
Ottavino has a bit of a side-winding motion where he throws across his body. That creates incredible deception and good movement on his pitches, but it also causes command issues as it can be difficult to repeat with consistency.
Ottavino only walked 16 last year (5.9%), but allowed free passes to 31 (9.3%) and 34 (10.0%) the two previous years, and command issues would hurt Ottavino in the same way they hurt Rex Brothers last season.
I think 2015 is the year Adam Ottavino becomes the Colorado Rockies’ closer. He’ll eventually earn the job in the next month or two; not necessarily because of LaTroy Hawkins’ ineffectiveness, but more so because Ottavino is flat out filthy and will keep missing bats.
Look for him to man the ninth inning for at least the last few months of 2015, and, hopefully, for the foreseeable future beyond. Adam Ottavino is the Rockies’ closer of the future.
Give us your predictions!