I took the time to review the tape from Adam Ottavino’s game on the 10th. There was some disgruntlement of my labeling it a so-so outing based on the boxscore. Talk of the strikezone being small and him only allowing 1 ER meaning I should have been more positive about it. I’m glad I took the time to watch the video.
That said, my assessment from the boxscore hasn’t changed at all. There were 2 or 3 pitches that I thought the ump got wrong (4th pitch to Golson in the 3rd, 6th pitch to Harrison in the 4th) but Ottavino was incredibly lucky in the 2nd. A wild pitch bounced off the backboard right back to Matt Pagnozzi. Max Ramirez, the opposing catcher, isn’t a fast runner and was barely tagged out at the plate. The next hitter, Esteban German, laced a single to the right side that would have scored a run but the baserunner got clipped by the ball for the third out. This could have VERY easily been a 5IP, 3ER event.
I do have a lot of positive things to say from a purely scouting perspective after watching the video. Let’s hit the pitch sequencing (the video started with the 3rd batter in the first inning).
Pitching Report 4/10
Notation: FB – hard fastball, F2 – soft fastball CH – changeup, SL – slider, CS – called strike, SS – swinging strike, BB – ball
- Boggs: 1-FB(BB), 2-FB(CS), 3-SL(CS), 4-SL(CS)
- Ramirez: 1-FB(CS), 2-SL(CS), 3-SL(foul), 4-F2(hit)
- Harrison: 1-CH(hit)
- Thorman: 1-SL(flyout)
- Duran: 1-FB(CS), 2-FB(wild pitch, BB), 3-CH(hit)
- German: 1-FB(CS), 2-FB(hits the runner going from first to second)
- Golson: 1-FB(CS), 2-FB(BB), 3-FB(foul), 4-F2(ball)
- Borbon: 1-FB(flyout)
- Arias: 1-FB(CS), 2-SL(foul), 3-SL(foul, Pagnozzi to Stavinoha)
- Boggs: 1-FB(BB), 2-SL(bunt, out)
- Ramirez: 1-F2(BB), 2-F2(CS), 3-FB(BB), 4-FB(BB), 5-FB(hit)
- Harrison: 1-SL(SS), 2-FB(BB), 3-SL(BB), 4-FB(BB), 5-FB(SS), 6-SL(BB)
- Thorman: 1-FB(SS), 2-FB(foul), 3-FB(SS)
- Duran: 1-SL(foul), 2-FB(foul), 3-FB(foul), 4-FB(BB), 5-FB(BB), 5-SL(flyout)
- German: 1-FB(foul), 2-FB(SS), 3-SL(BB), 4-FB(BB), 5-FB(flyout)
- Golson: pitch not taped(hit)
- Borbon: 1-FB(BB), 2- pitch not taped(foul), 3-FB(foul), 4-CH(BB), 5-SL(BB), 6-SL(SS)
- Arias: 1-FB(BB), 2-FB(BB), 3-FB(SS), 4-FB(foul tip), 5-pitch not taped
- Boggs: 1-FB(CS), 2-FB(BB), 3-FB(BB), 4-FB(BB), 5-FB(BB)
- Ramirez: 1-SL(CS), 2-FB(BB), 3-FB(BB), 4-FB(SS), 5-FB(foul), 6-FB(foul), 6-SL(flyout)
- Harrison: 1-SL(BB), 2-SL(SS), 3-FB(foul), 4-FB(foul), 5-FB(BB), 6-SL(BB), 7-SL(BB)
Fastball – 55/60
Slider – 50/60
Changeup – 45/50
“Soft” Fastball – 40/40
Command – 45/50
AOFP: 54, good set-up man/4th starter
Let’s start with a discussion of the fastball. Without knowing the velocity, I was spotting 2 separate fastballs. A hard straight fastball that Ottavino likes to throw all over the zone but especially high in the zone. There’s also a fastball where he takes something off of it and it has a little break to it. I don’t want to call these 4-seam and 2-seam since I don’t really know but that’s very well what they could be. His primary fastball is a darn good pitch that he can get batters to swing underneath or be late on. Lots of swing strikes on high fastballs and foul balls into the stands on late swings.
The soft fastball is a sloppy pitch that was over the middle of the plate way too often. It’s asking for trouble and it’s nothing more than a show me pitch. This isn’t a viable pitch outside the bottom of the order or as a last resort. It’s a pitch that should probably be scrapped.
If you want to see what Ottavino’s slider can be, watch the 1st pitch to Harrison in the 4th or the 6th pitch to Borbon in the 5th. It’s a strikeout pitch with nice tight vertical break and a litttttttle bit of lateral movement. It’s not a big sweeping slider but the bottom will fall out of the pitch when Adam throws it well. The problem is it’s wildly inconsistent in both location and movement. It’s something that’s good now but he needs to work on repeating his release to make it a good and reliable pitch.
I was surprised to be able to pick out a couple of really good changeups. Again, without velocity readings it can be hard to sight all the changeups but it looks like a viable pitch against lefthanders eventually. It needs to be located off the heart of the plate more but it plays well with fastball.
In the 4th inning, Ottavino’s command abandons him pretty blantantly. He doesn’t know where the fastball is going. He’s missing the catcher’s target and throwing pitches a foot off the plate that Pagnozzi was making backhand stabs at. His command goes from moderate to Wellemeyer in the matter of half an inning. You can see some frustration as he walks off the mound from time to time but he kept plugging away. I’d like to see Ottavino mix his pitches better. It seemed like a particularly poorly called game by Pagnozzi or Ottavino as the sequences were far too predictable. While the percentage of sliders was fine, they were clustered too much and let batters track the second slider more effectively.
Ottavino’s stuff would really play up in the pen from what I saw. He could ditch everything but the fastball/slider and be a setup man by mid-2009. I think the best case scenario as a starter is a 4th starter who just walks too many batters to be more than that. His stuff is better than that (it’s potentially front of the rotation) but I don’t see the command coalescing in a way that lets him consistenty throw 6 innings and retire batters. Left handers could be a problem depending on his level of comfort with the changeup and it’s progression as a pitch.
Ottavino has impressive, swing-and-miss stuff but lacks command. He needs more polish on his secondary pitches to be an effective starter. His outing on the 10th was touch and go at times but he’s got major league potential.
(Assuming Mitchell Boggs gets Carpenter’s next start, I’ll run a scouting report on him next.)