Adam Ottavino

New York Yankees complete fearsome bullpen with dominant Ottavino

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Reliever Adam Ottavino has agreed to sign with the New York Yankees, according to reports from Robert Murray.

Jeff Passan added that the Yankees will be paying Ottavino $27 million over three years.

There had been speculation for several weeks that the Yankees were looking to add another right-hander to their bullpen. Ottavino was the best option and joins a fearsome back end of the relief group at Yankee Stadium alongside Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Chad Green and recently re-signed Zach Britton.

Ottavino receives a very similar contract to what the Chicago White Sox gave Kelvin Herrera earlier this offseason. The former Colorado pitcher had a much better 2018 than Herrera, with a lower WHIP and a monstrous 13 strikeouts per nine innings compared to Herrera’s 7.7.

The Yankees staff was second to only the Astros in strikeout percentage. Only a handful of pitchers, including Betances and Chapman, struck out a higher percentage of batters faced than Ottavino. This bullpen was nasty before – adding Ottavino takes it to another level.


With Ottavino coming off a career year, he at least compensates for losing David Robertson to Philadelphia. Robertson is a great pitcher, but Ottavino has the potential to be more dominant, though without the same track record.

The former Cardinal relies on his slider, and he’s right to. He threw it over 46% of the time last season, and it was good for a 37.2% whiff rate. His cutter is nasty too, though it was thrown a lot less (9.8%), with a ludicrous 48.1% whiff rate.

He ranks in the top 1% of the league in expected batting average against and in the top 5% in exit velocity. Few relief pitchers were as good as Ottavino in 2018.

Adding Ottavino’s slider to Chapman’s fastball, Betances’ slurve-whatever-it-is and Britton’s sinker is scary. An argument can be made that they are the four best pitches in baseball.

Ottavino was elite last season, and he joins an already dominant bullpen. The contract is fair as it stands, but it could turn out to be a bargain if the Yankees get three years of 2018 Ottavino.


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