Some say his pitching is “disgusting,” others simply watch in awe as his backdoor slider whistles past the standing batter. Everyone in that sequence of events is enjoying New York Yankees new acquisition Adam Ottavino’s pitching, even the batter who just struck out swinging. A nod of the head is all it takes to appreciate the dominance of his game.
Fellow pitcher, Dellin Betances, commented on Ottavino and the quality he brings to the Yankees:
“He’s been unbelievable. His stuff is disgusting,” Betances said after the Yankees’ 6-5 Grapefruit League victory over the Pirates on Sunday. “Everything he has, a lot of movement. It’s going to be fun to watch him.”
Ottavino featured in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game, making his fourth appearance of the spring. He struck all three batters out and showed why the Yanks invested $27 million over three years for the righty.
“That was pretty lights-out,” manager Aaron Boone said. “You know when guys on defense are running off talking about it, like, ‘That’s not fair.’ That was one of those when you see the highlights of Otto, you can add that one to it. The ability to run the fastball back, obviously the slider, the command to both sides. That was a pretty showy performance.”
What should the New York Yankees expect from Ottavino?
The 33-year-old reliever finished 2018 with an impressive 2.43 ERA. His 112 strikeouts over 75 games were the most in his entire career, beating his second best by 31. He allowed 21 runs in 77.2 innings – averaging one run per 3.67 innings.
Adding a reliever like the former Rocky to the bullpen immediately makes the Yankees’ back end pitching rotation one of the best in baseball. Having players like Betances, Ottavino, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman will be extremely significant in a potential World Series caliber 2019 season.
One Yankees pitcher needs more time to prepare:
With only about three weeks left before Opening Day, the Bombers will be looking to work their active pitchers to ensure they’re prepared for an MLB workload. Betances has struggled with his command and velocity, but Boone doesn’t seem too worried about it.
“We keep getting asked about the velocity, which we’re not overly concerned about,” Boone said. “I think that’s just building arm strength as well. I thought maybe today he tried to manufacture it a little bit, so he lost a little bit of his command and labored out there. We want him to just continue to stay in his mechanics because that’s a thing he has done so well over the last year. The velo and arm strength will get there.”
Betances has shown his velocity and command in the past, so I wouldn’t be too concerned about his slow start. He did begin his spring program a bit late, which is why he’s lagging behind the others. There’s no question he will be ready when the lights come on and 50,000 fans are hollering his name.