The Colorado Rockies have had two relievers in the back end of their bullpen in the past few years who may have some similarities … but their manager doesn’t see it.
The Colorado Rockies have had two right-handed relievers with wipeout sliders in the recent memory in Adam Ottavino and Tyler Kinley. Recently, on social media, some people have compared them due to their sliders and for a few other ways. They also had some control issues that were big parts of their struggles when they had them.
For Kinley, 29, he barely had one year of MLB service time entering 2020 and in 66.2 career innings (through Sunday), he averaged 6.5 walks per nine innings while striking out 9.2 batters per nine innings. It’s part of the reason why the Marlins placed Kinley on waivers and the Rockies claimed him off waivers in December.
In 2020 (through Sunday), Kinley has walked 5.7 walks and struck out 12.8 per nine innings, so each number has gotten better, even though the walk rate is still high.
Ottavino, from 20117 through 2019, walked 5.2 batters per nine innings and he had 12 strikeouts per innings, which is similar to Kinley’s numbers.
When they are on their game, they both have no-hit stuff … but when they don’t have their best stuff, they have big problems.
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However, when Rockies manager Bud Black was asked about what he thought about in the comparison between them, he said that he doesn’t see it … at all.
"“Actually, no, I don’t see any comparison at all between their breaking pitches,” said Black. “Adam has the breaking ball from a lower arm-slot where he really creates a spin on the ball and his [pitch] is more of a slurvish, sweeping type [of a] breaking ball. It has a lot of side-to-side [movement] in it and it has some depth but I think the release points [between Ottavino and Kinley] are much different and the spin that’s created on both [of] those guys’ breaking pitches are different.“Tyler comes from a higher arm angle,” said Black. “He’s throwing the ball more on a downhill plane. When he throws his good slider, the break is pretty vertical with a little bit of tilt on it and his [slider] is anywhere from 87 to 90 miles an hour–hard–where I think that Ottavino’s slider is much slower in velocity and much bigger in break.”"
With the injuries to Wade Davis and Scott Oberg, the Rockies are relying on relievers like Kinley, Jairo Diaz, and Carlos Estevez for the back-end of the bullpen, as well as Yency Almonte and Daniel Bard for some middle relief.
Even though Kinley has had a high walk rate thus far in 2020 (and therefore, has had some hairy situations late in games for the Rockies), he has yet to allow a run in 6.1 innings.
Hopefully, for the Rockies, they will see that continue and, perhaps, Kinley can become more like Ottavino: a reliable, solid reliever for the back-end of the bullpen for years to come.