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Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino reinvented himself in Manhattan

Rockies news and links for May 3, 2018

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Adam Ottavino Rebuilt Himself in a Vacant Manhattan Storefront | FanGraphs
Aside from the incredible feats of Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader, no bullpen pitcher in baseball has been better than Adam Ottavino of the Colorado Rockies to begin 2018. As of Wednesday, Ottavino boasts an elite 31 strikeouts in 17 innings of work (a rate of 16.41 K/9). With only four walks, Otto seems to have righted the ship from a season ago. 2016 was a struggle for Ottavino in terms of command, with over 6.5 walks per nine innings to his name, and 8 home runs allowed in 53 1/3 innings. Ottavino has not given up a home run yet this season, in what looks to be a dramatic turnaround and return to 2013-14 form (or even better, if the current pace continues).

When a pitcher looks so ridiculously better than a season ago, there had to have been some adjustments made over the offseason that are now paying off exponentially. Working at Driveline Baseball certainly helped, but another locale where Ottavino set up shop to work on his delivery was a vacant storefront in between a Chuck E. Cheese’s and a Dollar Tree in Manhattan. Ottavino makes his home in New York City during the offseason, so this was a location in excellent proximity to his family. In this vacant building, Ottavino utilized the help of others, technology, but mostly relied upon himself to get his missing command back on track. The full piece by Travis Sawchik of FanGraphs is well worth a full read.

Rockies close out April by completing the worst offensive month in team history | The Athletic ($)
The Rockies hit .224 in April 2018, the worst single-month batting average ever produced by the franchise. It’s not nice to talk about. The 5-9 hitters are hitting under the Mendoza line, the team has the third worst on-base percentage in the National League, and have also struck out more than only two other teams in the league.

BSN Rockies Podcast: Why Colorado never hits on the road | BSN Rockies
The Rockies rank 10th in Weighted On-Base Average at home, which is by no means terrible, but 28th in road wOBA. It isn’t a universal problem, however. Charlie Blackmon and the currently-injured DJ LeMahieu are both putting up significantly better road splits. Ian Desmond, Gerardo Parra, and Chris Iannetta are also hitting better on the road, but they admittedly don’t require much in the way of production to be better than their home numbers. In the latest edition of the BSN Rockies podcast, Drew Creasman discusses the road struggles of the Rox.

The one thing the struggling Rockies offense can do right now? Hit homers | The Athletic ($)
One area in which the Rockies are not struggling offensively is with the long ball. Blackmon leads MLB in away game home runs and is tied for most homers by a center fielder. As a team, the Rockies lead the National League in HRs, with the most homers off lefties in all of MLB. Perhaps most impressively, the Rox lead the NL in home runs hit on the road.

Cuevas the coffee man: Rookie brings fellow Rockies mounds of caffeine before day game | Mile High Sports
Rookie Noel Cuevas is ensuring that the entire team is enjoying his “cup of coffee” in the big leagues. With Harrison Musgrave and Daniel Castro as escorts, Cuevas was tasked with buying $111.55 worth of coffee (in full uniform, no less) for all the Rockies as part of a good old rookie hazing event.

Around Baseball

Trevor Bauer, Astros throw shade at each other | NBC Sports
It’s something we are lucky enough to witness that our forefathers would never have dreamt of— our favorite baseball players going at it in a Twitter war. For some reason, Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer felt the need to hint that the Houston Astros are in some way doctoring the baseball to see improved spin rates from their starters. Lance McCullers Jr., Alex Bregman, and Collin McHugh are featured among the “clapbacks.”

Trevor Bauer: legalize pine tar and other sticky substances for pitchers | NBC Sports
Bauer kinda sorta clarified his comments on Wednesday, saying that he believes the use of pine tar on the baseball by pitchers is an issue around the league. Bauer went a step further to say that baseball should legalize its use, as “over 69 percent of the league probably uses it anyway.” First, nice. Second, there is truth to this statement, as Major League Baseball seemingly has an unwritten rule (among the plethora of others) where it’s okay for a pitcher to use pine tar if it isn’t done too obviously.

A game in the life of home run hawk and baseball hoarder Zack Hample | The Athletic ($)
Alex Blandino of the Cincinnati Reds hit his first Major League home run on Tuesday evening. But the man garnering most of the headlines is the one who caught the long ball- noted ball hawk Zack Hample. Hample, in his neon green t-shirt, noted that he was trying not to draw attention to himself, and allowed Blandino to have the ball. “I’m allowed to keep it,” Hample was quick to mention, “But I want him to have it.” In exchange for a signed bat and the opportunity to score a photo with Blandino, while shaking hands with him, handing the ball over, and saying “Congrats,” Hample allowed the ball to become complete property of the Reds rookie.