The New York Mets were seeking another late inning reliever to lengthen their bullpen after the lockout, and Adam Ottavino was an answer to address a hole in the area of need that Brad Hand, Jeurys Familia, and Aaron Loup left behind. The Mets agreed to a 1-year, $4 million deal with Ottavino on March 14.
The Mets have needed someone in their bullpen to step up after setup man Trevor May was placed on the injured list with right triceps inflammation and will not be back until at least early July, and Ottavino has helped the cause.
Mets reliever Adam Ottavino has now gone eight straight appearances without giving up an earned run.
Buck Showalter’s decision to have Adam Ottavino pitch in games on three consecutive days was no question a head scratcher and it left more questions than answers about the 36-year old's effectiveness. After pitching scoreless outings on May 2 and 3 vs. Atlanta, he was called in the next day and gave up 3 runs without getting an out en route to a blowout loss, and a lot of questions surrounded the front office about the decision to sign Ottavino.
But, was that perhaps the jolt Ottavino needed this whole time to start pitching well again? Or were back-to-back rain outs a couple of days later the time he needed to focus and get outs? Either way, he has gotten back to being a reliable eighth inning guy and as someone who could put out a mess, and he has shared those duties alongside Joely Rodriguez this month with Trevor May on the injured list.
There was a time, not too long ago, where Mets fans should have been nervous when Ottavino came into games. Those feelings have temporarily been eased. One thing that should be noted with Ottavino’s season so far is all but three of his 19 outings this season have yielded no earned runs.
The longtime veteran has seen his season ERA dip nearly in half, from 6.52 to now 3.86.
Ottavino’s Statcast rankings are excellent, and his ERA is worse than his pitching indicates.
The only ball he has given up for a hit with an exit velocity of more than 100 miles per hour was Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber’s go-ahead home run on April 30. That’s right. For what his season has been worth, he’s only allowed one barrel this season.
Ottavino's exit velocity average against of 82.2 miles per hour is the third lowest among 388 qualified pitchers in baseball, only behind Tyler Rogers of the Giants and Devin Williams of the Brewers. And on balls hit for fly balls and line drives, the average is only 86.9 miles per hour, second best in this group, only behind teammate Joely Rodriguez. So other than Schwarber’s home run in April, he has been giving up everything but hard-hit balls all season for the Mets.
Furthermore, Ottavino's 33.8 percent strikeout rate, xwOBA of .272, and expected slugging percentage of .308, and expected ERA of 2.61 are all second best on the team, all behind Edwin Diaz.
He still has to work on this walks and control. He’s given up 4.4 walks per nine innings, and that could be something that bites the Mets down the road, but that rate is on par with his career.
It seems like Billy Eppler and his staff knew exactly what they were doing in bringing on Ottavino.