The additions of Wade Davis and Bryan Shaw and re-signing of Jake McGee has led many to tout that the Colorado Rockies‘ bullpen could be one of the best in the MLB. Even though I have my concerns about the offseason acquisitions, there is one player who could take the pen from being good to being elite: Adam Ottavino.
For those that don’t remember, Ottavino was one of the Rockies’ best set up men from 2012 to 2014. Then in 2015, after LaTroy Hawkins blew two saves early in season, Otto was given the closer role. He was lights out, going 3-for-3 in save opportunities, allowing only two hits, one walk and no runs in his six appearances as closer.
Then, a partially torn ligament in his pitching elbow requiring Tommy John surgery ended his season and kept him out until midway through 2016. Sadly, if it wasn’t for his arm injury, he was possibly on his way to becoming one of the best closers in the game.
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Since his return, he has struggled to regain his command. Last season, in his first full season back, he issued 39 walks in 53.1 innings, helping balloon his ERA to 5.06 and his WHIP (walks/hits per innings pitched) to an ugly 1.63.
So far this spring (through Monday night), he has shown signs of a revival. In his six appearances, he has only given up one run in 6.1 innings with five strikeouts. But control issues still seem to linger as he has walked four and given up five hits.
A much improved Otto would provide a rather significant piece to an already deep pen. Not only could he be another shutdown set-up man in the late innings, but he could be a second closer on off days for Davis.
As long as Davis, Shaw, and McGee live up to expectations and Mike Dunn and Ottavino pitch to their capabilities, a Rockies’ lead heading into the seventh inning would be almost insurmountable for opponents to overcome.