Not only is Adam Ottavino likely the best Rockies reliever, he's also a user of advanced baseball data. He reads Fangraphs and uses information from BrooksBaseball and Pitchf/x to make himself better. In a recent interview for Fangraphs he described his three different sliders -- straight down, a slurve, and a sweeper. Fangraphs then collected video of each slider and GIFed them. Each of the sliders is nasty as all get-out, and coupled with his mid-90s fastball, Ottavino is a tough guy to hit.
Also, unless I'm mistaken, Ottavino made an appearance in the comments of the article. What a cool guy.
Much has been made about Jorge De La Rosa's great numbers at hitter-friendly Coors Field. He posted a 3.08 ERA at Coors last year, and a 2.76 ERA the year before. Because baseball nerds are always slicing and dicing numbers, any sort of split like that will attract attention. Our own Ryan Freemyer, who is definitely not a nerd, wrote that the Rockies should maximize JDLR's home starts to capitalize on that Coors success, and not two days later Jorge was tabbed for the home opener instead of Opening Day in Milwaukee. Apparently Jorge and Walt Weiss know the numbers too.
These kind of things make me uncomfortable. When pressed for answers about why he performs better at Coors, Jorge usually says something about how he's more familiar with the ball's break at altitude and can locate better. Unlike Ottavino, he does not delve into the specifics of his process. We, the fans, have never really gotten an exact reason why Jorge can pitch at Coors when virtually nobody else -- in 20+ years -- has demonstrated that ability.
I'm concerned that it's just One Of Those Things. Richard Lustig has won the lottery seven different times, a world record. That doesn't make him luckier than any other human being (in the sense that "luck" is a skill). Has Jorge just been "luckier" at Coors than anyone else? Jorge's splits haven't shown up until 2013 and 2014; in 2009 and 2010 (his non-Tommy John years) he did not pitch better at home than away. The 2013-2014 sample covers 171 home innings, a pretty large number, but less than a full season. Pitchers enjoy "lucky" full seasons all the time, where the BABIP gods smile on them, or they get a run of starts against easy teams, or they have a fortunate home run per fly ball rate. Sometimes, it's just One Of Those Things. Baseball is ruled by probability distributions, and someone gets to enjoy the right-tail flukes.
Anyway. I don't mean to minimize what JDLR has done, because he's been great. Maybe he really does have Coors Field figured out. It will be fascinating to see how he performs this year.
Yesterday's Cactus League game was very encouraging, as the two Rockies in the headline both had huge days. Jordan Lyles is going to be a key cog in the rotation.
As for Nolan...he's OPSing 1.146 this spring. Anyone else getting the feeling he's going to have a huge year? Everyone always talks about how Tulo and Cargo are the two big Rockies superstars, but Arenado is going to be joining that club pretty soon, I'd wager.
Rafael Betancourt got popped in yesterday's game by a line drive to the face. He deflected the ball slightly with his glove, slowing it down a little bit and preventing serious injury. Betancourt says it's not a big deal; there's no break and no concussion. The tough-as-nails closer is coming back from Tommy John surgery at age 39, so it's not like he's wanting for adversity. As one of the best closers in Rockies history and an overall awesome dude, I sure hope he does make it back to the big leagues.