Adam Ottavino, right-handed relief pitcher formerly of the Colorado Rockies recently signed a 3 year, $27 million deal with the New York Yankees. The pitcher who claimed he “would strike Babe Ruth out every time” joins a group of extremely talented bullpen talents in the Bronx.
The 33-year-old Brooklyn native who lives in New York has seen adversity and success both in his career.
The history of the strikeout maestro:
Adam was selected in the MLB draft in the 30th round by the Tampa Bay Rays but didn’t sign. He opted for college and attended Northeastern University where he holds the career and single-season records for strike-outs and in 2005 was named America East Conference’s Pitcher of the Year.
He was then selected by the Saint Louis Cardinals in the 2006 draft in the first round, 30th overall.
After playing in the minors A-level in 2006 through 2009 he moved to the AAA Memphis Redbirds. Ottavino went a dismal 0-9 in the first half of the season but rebounded in the second half posting a 7-3 record as a starter.
After the 2009 season, Ottavino was added to the St. Louis 40-man roster making his major league debut on May 29, 2010. He appeared in 5 games, 3 of which were starts. Following the 2010 season, he was outrighted by the team, sent back to Memphis and spent the year again in the minors. Not exactly what you want.
In April of 2012, the Colorado Rockies claimed Adam off waivers and assigned him to the Colorado Springs Sky Sox of the PCL. Later that season, he was brought up to the major league level and converted to the bullpen. What a wise move this would prove to be.
In 2013 Ottavino changed his uniform number to 0, which he had worn since his youth in baseball. That year he appeared in 51 games, throwing 78 1/3 innings and had an amazing 2.64 ERA.
In 2014 he made 75 appearances and pitched to a 3.60 ERA.
In 2015 again Ottavino met with a setback when it was found that he had a partially torn UCL which would require Tommy John surgery. How would he respond to this?
The answer became clear in 2016 when Ottavino became the Colorado Rockies franchise record-holder with 37 scoreless appearances in 31 innings pitched. Way to come back!
Ottavino continued his dominance as a relief pitcher in 2018 as he went 6-4 with a 2.43 ERA and shared the major league lead in holds with 34. He also had 112 strikeouts out of the pen which was 4th in major league baseball. He only gave up 36 walks.
On to the Bronx!
Now he joins the Yankees, after having some tough times, Tommy John surgery AND after angering some fans with his comment about the legendary Bambino. Following that comment, Adam’s uncle jokingly told him he couldn’t go anywhere without someone saying something to him about it. In response, Ottavino recently said, “I was surprised that it went so viral. I probably used a bad example of the point I was trying to make about the evolution of pitching in baseball history.” Ok, Adam. Yankee fans can accept that. You’re forgiven.
The man who already has a devastating slider is working on a new pitch in his work-out facility in an abandoned Upper Manhattan store. His arsenal plus him joining the corps of Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Zach Britton could make for some very short games for the opposition.
Ottavino also made history for the Yankees before he threw one pitch by being allowed to wear his beloved number 0. It was previously thought that no single digit uniform numbers existed for the team after the retirement of Jeter’s number 2. No one has worn the number 0 in Yankees history. About the number, Ottavino stated, “realistically I understand that any type of recognition I get from Yankee fans is going to be contingent upon me pitching well. I’m just going to try to focus on that and not make too big of a deal about the number.”
On his signing with the Yankees, he made no secret of the fact that he’s where he wanted to be saying, “I really wanted to be a Yankee the whole time This is the type of environment I want to be in the type of stage I want to pitch in.”
Adam Ottavino has overcome some rocky times, Tommy John surgery, the ire of some fans and landed exactly where he wanted. He’s doing and saying all the right things and adding to perhaps what will be the most feared bullpen in major league baseball.
Welcome to the Bronx. Time to shine!