Adam Ottavino credits FanGraphs for change in approach

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Update: Here’s the video clip from MLB Now:

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.

Giants hire Gabe Kapler as new manager

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The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.

Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.

Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.

Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.