Adam Ottavino was forced to miss the beginning of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May of 2015, but he didn't miss a beat once he was back in commission. In 11.2 innings during his first month off the disabled list, the right-hander didn't allow a single run, struck out over a batter per inning, and held a stellar 0.94 WHIP, prompting the Rockies to promote him to the closer's role, where he went 7-for-11 in save opportunities. Although his final 2.67 ERA looks impressive on its own, it's worth noting that five of the eight earned runs he allowed on the season were given up in the same inning, while he gave up more than one hit only one time during every other appearance. He's in line to begin 2017 as the Rockies' closer, and as long as he continues inducing plenty of groundballs and striking out batters at a healthy rate, Ottavino seems primed for success even as a reliever in the most hitter-friendly park in baseball.
Ottavino is the "clear favorite" to open the season as the Rockies' closer, according to beat writer Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. This is strictly Saunders' opinion, but he is a legitimate authority on the matter as one of the Rockies' top beat writers. The Rockies signed Greg Holland on Wednesday, so that adds a right-handed reliever with a history of success in the ninth inning to the mix for saves, but it sounds like Ottavino should still be the top target in that bullpen in fantasy drafts.
Ottavino blew the save in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Dodgers, allowing a game-tying homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Tasked with protecting a 3-2 lead, Ottavino struck out the first two batters he faced. He then fell behind 2-0 to Corey Seager, who swatted his next pitch over the right field wall for a game-tying homer, chasing Ottavino from the game. The blown save was the fifth of the year for Ottavino, who had not allowed an earned run in six September appearances prior to Sunday. He's still entrenched as Colorado's closer with a 2.55 ERA and 0.97 WHIP.
Ottavino pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his fifth save in Sunday's 6-3 win over the Padres, allowing a hit while striking out two. Ottavino had little trouble protecting Colorado's three-run lead, allowing a two-out single to Adam Rosales before striking out Luis Sardinas to end the game. The 30-year-old has not allowed an earned run in six September appearances, lowering his ERA to 2.25.
Ottavino earned the save in Sunday's 3-2 win over the Padres. He walked one and struck out one without allowing a run. Ottavino pitched a scoreless 10th inning to preserve Colorado's extra-inning victory, recovering from a leadoff walk to retire the next three batters in order. After initially struggling when he took over closing duties in late August, Ottavino has yet to allow an earned run in four September appearances. He's now converted consecutive save opportunities for the first time this season and appears to have a stable hold on the closer job.
Ottavino struck out two in a perfect ninth inning Sunday to notch his second save of the season in a win over the Nationals. It's been over two weeks since Ottavino recorded his first save and it comes on the heels of him blowing an opportunity Saturday in the Rockies' 9-4 extra-inning win. The team seems committed to him as their closer for the remainder of the year, but save chances could remain hard to come by given the team's tendency to either win or lose big.