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Old 05-30-2010, 02:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Adam Ottavino's Debut

This probably isn't of any interest to non-Cardinal fans, but I wrote up an article analyzing Adam Ottavino's major league debut yesterday, starting in place of one of the injured Kyle Lohse/Brad Penny duo. In my mind, it didn't go well:

Breaking Down Ottavinos Debut | The Cardinal Nation blog
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Old 05-30-2010, 03:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well, I was going to make a comparison to our Phil Hughes who needed to mature a bit into the pitcher that [we hope] he has become today. But Hughes was 21/22 when he debuted. Your guy is 24... Still, on the basis of only one game, to be worried already?

I dunno, but this statement alone in that analysis is a bit weird: "While this was only his debut outing and while Adam Ottavino is a fine pitcher, I have concerns over his ability to remain in a major league starting rotation based upon this outing."

Then he says "The above [analysis of one game's pitching performance] might seem to project him as being better suited to the bullpen at this stage of his career. However, at twenty-four years of age and currently working as the Cardinals’ seventh starter, he has a strong fastball and plenty of room to grow."

This fellow was paid for this "analysis"? This guy would screw up Ottavino the same way we screwed up Chamberlain!

Time, and at least a few more outings, will tell.

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Old 05-30-2010, 09:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This fellow was paid for this "analysis"? This guy would screw up Ottavino the same way we screwed up Chamberlain!
Well, I wrote the article and I wasn't paid, so I guess that you get what you pay for.

I stand by what I wrote there - he has good stuff, but he isn't good enough to start right now. He doesn't trust his off-speed stuff and he wore his fastball out through overuse. His control was poor, as it was in the minors, and his pitch location wasn't varied enough to keep anyone guessing after once through the rotation.

He certainly wouldn't be starting right now if two SPs weren't on the DL. This afternoon, Dave Duncan termed his performance "adequate", which was awfully polite of him.
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Old 05-30-2010, 10:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My apologies, Ian. I was not aware that you were the author (in my haste to get to the article, I missed the words "I wrote [it]").

Still, I will stand by what I wrote. This guy seems to have been a prospect up until now. Good analysis of his pitching performance, but might not your conclusions be a bit broad and hasty on the basis of one outing?

Just talking...
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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That game happened to our GotW on FOX so I caught a lot of it. I agree with most of that. Overall I thought he pitched pretty well, though obviously walking Silva was a big problem. I don't think staying mostly away in your first big league outing in Wrigley Field is such a bad gameplan, though he will obviously have to get in on the hands of batters at some point.

I also thought the walks were a little overblown; 6 looks like a bad number but if you consider he walked his last two batters (one intentionally), then it doesn't seem so bad. But there is no defending walking the pitcher after an intentional walk.

Anyway, nice analysis Ian.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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My apologies, Ian. I was not aware that you were the author (in my haste to get to the article, I missed the words "I wrote [it]").

Still, I will stand by what I wrote. This guy seems to have been a prospect up until now. Good analysis of his pitching performance, but might not your conclusions be a bit broad and hasty on the basis of one outing?

Just talking...
No need to apologize. You're allowed to state your opinion. If I was worried about a little snark, I wouldn't post links in these forums.

Oh sure, it was only one start, but it made me nervous. He's a fine prospect, but I don't think that he's ready to contribute in the major league rotation right now. This season in AAA Memphis, he fared quite well, but in 2009, he was giving up 5.1 BB/9 IP and threw 13 WPs in 144 IP. We'll see. He needs more than a good fastball to be an effective major league starter. Major league hitters are going to figure him out very quickly otherwise.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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No need to apologize. You're allowed to state your opinion. If I was worried about a little snark, I wouldn't post links in these forums.
Heh, thanks for letting me off the hook that easy. That was dumb of me not to notice.

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Oh sure, it was only one start, but it made me nervous. He's a fine prospect, but I don't think that he's ready to contribute in the major league rotation right now. This season in AAA Memphis, he fared quite well, but in 2009, he was giving up 5.1 BB/9 IP and threw 13 WPs in 144 IP. We'll see. He needs more than a good fastball to be an effective major league starter. Major league hitters are going to figure him out very quickly otherwise.
Well, you got me interested in him. I bookmarked his B-R page.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't think staying mostly away in your first big league outing in Wrigley Field is such a bad gameplan, though he will obviously have to get in on the hands of batters at some point.
Well, see, I'm not sure that he has the command to do that. All of his pitches land on a diagonal between the catcher's upper left and his lower right - tracking directly with the pitcher's natural arm motion. Even his sliders are landing in pretty much the same places. His pitches thrown against lefties look just like his pitches thrown against righties, but he cut the lower right half of his range off.

Not a single strike was thrown in the upper right or lower left portions of the strike zone to RHB or LHB! I don't think that he can reach them. That's a big problem.
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Old 05-31-2010, 03:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well, see, I'm not sure that he has the command to do that. All of his pitches land on a diagonal between the catcher's upper left and his lower right - tracking directly with the pitcher's natural arm motion. Even his sliders are landing in pretty much the same places. His pitches thrown against lefties look just like his pitches thrown against righties, but he cut the lower right half of his range off.
That's a good point. Could be problematic as you suggest. Maybe he'll learn it, maybe not.
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Old 05-31-2010, 08:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Either way, it's fun to play around with this stuff.

(For the record, I'm not down on my own team's pitching, or even its rookies. PJ Walters looks solid and I'm gonna be ripped if Jaime Garcia doesn't get serious consideration as Rookie of the Year in the NL. The man's curveball is out of this world.)
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:49 PM   #11 (permalink)
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... I'm gonna be ripped if Jaime Garcia doesn't get serious consideration as Rookie of the Year in the NL. The man's curveball is out of this world.)
Apparently he can hit, too.
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Old 06-07-2010, 01:20 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Being a glutton for punishment, I took a stab at evaluating Ottavino's second start as well: Studying Adam Ottavinos second start | The Cardinal Nation blog
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:54 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Counting the short outing as a negative against him is a bit harsh. He was pulled at 75 pitches. He could've thrown 6 or possibly even 7 innings if LaRussa wasn't being overly cautious with him.
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:33 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I don't remember what his slider looked like IRL, but from the graph I would be concerned by the elevation of his slider - all the ones for strikes are waist high and up, i.e. crushable even for Rickie Weeks.

Nice article again.
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:48 PM   #15 (permalink)
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With Penny AND Lohse hurt, the Cards are trying to get by with three rookie starters.

If they are anywhere near first place when Penny comes back, then I would say that their rookie starters are doing one hell of a job.
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:03 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Counting the short outing as a negative against him is a bit harsh. He was pulled at 75 pitches. He could've thrown 6 or possibly even 7 innings if LaRussa wasn't being overly cautious with him.
He was pulled at 75 pitches because he was struggling for the previous batter and an inning. He got left in there too long during his first start and was overexposed.
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:04 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I don't remember what his slider looked like IRL, but from the graph I would be concerned by the elevation of his slider - all the ones for strikes are waist high and up, i.e. crushable even for Rickie Weeks.

Nice article again.
Thanks. Yeah, his slider is a bit scary. I'd still feel more comfortable with him in the bullpen firing mostly fastballs a la Jason Motte.
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:06 PM   #18 (permalink)
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With Penny AND Lohse hurt, the Cards are trying to get by with three rookie starters.

If they are anywhere near first place when Penny comes back, then I would say that their rookie starters are doing one hell of a job.
Jaime Garcia, while a rookie, has got to be their number three starter even with Penny and Lohse healthy now. The man is a quality pitcher.

We'll see about the others. I've heard that Hawksworth may come out of the pen to start tonight? McClellan is also a possibility for a similar move.
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