Red Sox 2021 Player Profile: Adam Ottavino


The Syndicate's Red Sox Writers and Red Sox Podcast to be Named Later hosts will be profiling a different Red Sox player each day to get you ready for the 2021 season.

Today's featured player: Adam Ottavino   

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The Red Sox acquired stud reliever Adam Ottavino in a rare trade with the rival Yankees.  While 2020 surface stats do look awful for Ottavino, it doesn’t take much more digging to see he’s an obvious bounce back candidate. 

Back of the baseball card:

  • Position: Relief Pitcher
  • Age: 35
  • Bats: Both / Throws: Right
  • Height: 6-5 / Weight: 246 lbs.
  • Nickname: Otto
  • How acquired: Traded to Boston from NYY with prospect Frank German
  • Contract status: Signed through 2021
2020 Season

Ottavino posted a 5.89 ERA and 1.58 WHIP in 2020 with a great K% of 29.4 in his 18.1 IP last season.  He also struggled with walks, but this has been the norm in his career, so I’m not as concerned with that.  Looking at his FIP and xFIP to see if he really pitched poorly reveals that he was surprisingly very good.  His FIP was a very solid 3.52 and his xFIP was 3.78, which is actually much better than the xFIP in his 2019 campaign that resulted in a 1.90 ERA! 

Statcast also backs Otto up in a lot of ways, though he fell from the best to near the worst in Hard Hit % and Exit Velocity.  As much as I’d love to fine the cause of that, I’m probably already reading too much into the small 18.1 inning sample.  

Going back to the signs of encouragement, Ottavino should see his HR/FB and BABIP improve given the full season to even out.  His 12.5% HR/FB is close to career average, but is a bit farther from the 8.1-8.6% range from 2018-2019.  The BABIP for Otto was a rough .375, much higher than his career average of .306.   These numbers coming back to near-average would go a long way in helping Ottavino have a strong 2021 season and even fight for the closer role. 

2021 Outlook

I expect a very good season from Adam Ottavino, as his 2020 numbers and career track record point to the inflated 2020 ERA being an outlier.  He should fit in right with the rest of this bullpen as a high K, high BB guy with nasty breaking stuff (seriously, might be my favorite slider after Chaz Roe’s frisbee).  This trade looks to be a positive for both the Sox and their rivals, who were able to dump Otto’s salary and make some moves of their own. “Bargain Bin Bloom” found a great deal, and I’m looking forward to this bullpen led by Barnes and Ottavino. 

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Red Sox 2021 Player Profile: Adam Ottavino
Red Sox 2021 Player Profile: Adam Ottavino
Boston Sports Syndicate
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