Here at Rox Pile, we are starting a player review for each and every player that suited up in a Colorado Rockies uniform this season. This series will be going all the way up until Dec. 15 with player profiles posted every day.
Today, we are featuring Rockies closer Adam Ottavino.
Adam Ottavino was so dominant that I forgot it was a Rockies bullpen for a moment. Sadly, it all came crashing down with the worst injury news a pitcher can hear; torn UCL and Tommy John’s surgery to repair it.
Ottavino has been solid in his four years in the Rockies organization but took it to a whole new level in 2015. He only made 10 appearances and gave up three hits and two walks. Five baserunners in ten innings?! Are we sure he’s human? Ottavino struck out 13 of the 32 batters he faced, recording the best K/9 of his career; 11.3 compared to 9.2, 9.0 and 9.7 over the previous three years. Yes, 10 games is a small sample size and any pitcher can get hot over that short of a stretch, but Ottavino looked like he was getting better with each appearance.
All these stats are great, but Ottavino showed us two things we haven’t seen from him before; 100 miles per hour and a ground-ball to fly-ball rate over one. The 10 mph fastball with movement and the location Ottavino showed was virtually unhittable. Ottavino added a few miles to his fastball, making it even more difficult for hitters to reach. As a result, Ottavino was generating weaker swings and inducing more ground balls. Before this season, Ottavino’s career-high GB/FB rate was 0.94, or 94 ground-balls per every 100 fly-balls. This year it was 1.71; 171 ground balls per every 100 fly-balls. If Ottavino can come back and just emulate that stat, he’ll be very effective for the Rockies bullpen.
Ottavino 2015: 10.1 IP 0.00 ERA, 0.484 WHIP, 13 K, 2 BB, 3 SV
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The big question surrounding Ottavino is concerning his repaired elbow. There’s uncertainty that comes with every surgery; there’s no guarantee that his new UCL will ever be major-league ready. Even if it is, it’s highly unlikely Ottavino will be ready for Opening Day, so the Rockies will be without their closer for an indefinite amount of time. Until Ottavino is sent on his rehab assignment, we have no idea when he’ll be back. Let’s just hope we can see him in 2016 in any capacity.
Overall Grade: A
Rox Pile editor Andrew Dill recaps the Rockies moves so far this offseason and tries to make some predictions about 2016. Right now, things just aren’t clear enough to really have an idea.