Update: Here’s the video clip from MLB Now:
[mlbvideo id=”37231243″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]
In an article for MLB.com Thursday, Thomas Harding detailed how Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino made adjustments during the 2014 season. Part of that adjustment included visiting FanGraphs, one of the leading Sabermetric analysis sites.
“My fastball was just getting hit too much and I felt like I’ve always been a pitcher that succeeds actually with my fastball up in the zone,” Ottavino said. “First I researched online. I think I read an article on Fangraphs about [the Athletics’] Sean Doolittle utilizing the high fastball, saw some quotes from some hitters saying they just couldn’t get on top of it. I tried to implement that into my game.
“I also paid attention to guys like Lance Lynn or Jordan Zimmermann. They’re doing similar things. That area, that’s like a strike, but just a little bit too high. It yields a lot of weak popups and swings and misses.”
The article he’s referencing was written by Mike Petriello on June 24. Ottavino had much more success in the second half, ostensibly after some stats-influenced adustments. In the first half, the right-hander had a 4.12 ERA and a 46/10 K/BB ratio in 43 2/3 innings. In the second half, he had a much lower 2.53 ERA and a 24/6 K/BB ratio in 21 1/3 innings. Though his line drive rate rose from 16 percent to 27 percent and his ground ball rate stayed static, he induced many more infield pop-ups as his rate increased from four percent to 27 percent. High fastballs are a great way to induce those.