New York Yankees Player Profiles: Adam Ottavino, will he bounce back?

William Parlee
Mar 10, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) walks off the mound during the fifth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Ottavino, the early years

The New York Yankees Adam Robert Ottavino was born on November 22, 1985. The 34-year-old was born to Eve and John Ottavino in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn, New York. He attended elementary school at PS 39 where his mother was a teacher. Adam grew up playing baseball and being a Yankee fan. He played on childhood teams that his father coached. Adam loved baseball and dreamed of someday being a Yankee. He actually can be seen at Yankee Stadium with his Dad in full Yankee away uniform back when he was ten years old. He attended junior high school at The Bay Academy for the Arts and Sciences in Sheepshead Bay and graduated from the Berkeley Carroll School in Park Slope in 2003.

Ottavino enters the minor leagues

Adam Ottavino was selected in the 30th round of the 2003 MLB draft when he was just eighteen, but he refused. Instead, he enrolled in Northeastern University, where he played for the Huskies baseball team. He holds the record single-season and career for most strikeouts at Northeastern He was named America East Conference’s Pitcher of the Year in 2005. During his time at Northeastern, he had to make the decision whether to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an actor or to pursue his first love of baseball. Luckily for the baseball world, he chooses the latter, but he could have been another Brad Pitt, but we will never know, will we?

Ottavino pitched for the Italian national baseball team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He pitched three scoreless innings against Venezuela in his lone appearance in the tournament. After he graduated from Northeastern the St Louis Cardinals selected him in the 2009 MLB draft. He pitched for several Cardinal minor league teams but started the 2010 season pitching for the Memphis Cardinals. He was promoted to the bigs and pitched in three games as a starter. Because of his success, he again played for Memphis in 2011 being added to the 40 man Cardinal roster after the season.

On April 3, 2012, Ottavino was claimed off waivers by the Colorado Rockies. He played in the minors briefly but was called up by the Rockies, where they developed him as a reliever. In 2013 Adam decided on a uniform number 0. In his first year, he pitched to an ERA of close to 5 but lowered that in his second year to just 2.67. After the Rockies lost their closer to LaTroy Hawkins, Ottavino was named Rockies closer. Shortly thereafter he suffered an injury that required Tommy John surgery that ended his 2015 season. He signed a new three-year contract after the 2015 season. In 2016 Adam recorded a Rockies franchise record by pitching 37 scoreless innings in relief. In 2018, he was 6–4 with a 2.34 ERA and shared the major league lead in holds with 34.

Adam becomes a Yankee

As a free agent after the season, the New York Yankees signed him to a three-year contract in January of 2019. Upon arriving at the Stadium he selected the number 0, the first time in history any Yankee has worn the number. Since a Yankee Ottavino has proven to be one of the Yankee’s most reliable relievers. He immediately blended in with the Yankee crew and became a fan favorite. So far with the Yankees, he is 6-5, with an ERA of 1.90 in 73 appearances with 88 strikeouts.

Ottavino started out strong for the New York Yankees in 2019, but late in September, something went south.  He stated that he felt good, but something was off.  His poor pitching continued in October.  During this shortened spring training, he demonstrated that he may have solved that problem. In brief work this spring, Ottavino, now 34, looked sharp in his two scoreless Grapefruit League outings, striking out three batters without a walk before the exhibition season was halted due to the COVID-19 crisis.  He hopes to help the Yankees get to a 28th World Championship.

Ottavino is married to his wife Brette and has two daughters, one of whom is named Bradley. Adam and his family still live in his childhood Brooklyn. His Mom still teaches at PS 39 and has Adam come back to his childhood school annually to speak to her class on working hard and dreaming big, and that anything can happen if you work for it. Ottavino will be an important part of the 2020 bullpen.