Ottavino retired two of the three batters he faced in Thursday's 8-4 win over the Rays, securing his 21st hold of the season in the process. He walked and struck out a batter in the 15-pitch appearance. Ottavino is now tied with Houston's Ryan Pressly for the MLB holds lead. After inking a three-year, $27 million deal with the Yankees in January, Ottavino has been the setup ace the club envisioned in front of closer Aroldis Chapman. Though his 1.33 WHIP and 6.3 BB/9 suggest he could struggle to maintain a sub-2.00 ERA, Ottavino's high strikeout rate (12.7 K/9) and ability to keep the ball in the yard (0.94 HR/9) should translate to success more often than not.
Ottavino (2-2) took the loss Thursday against the White Sox after recording just two outs. He allowed one run on two hits and a walk while striking out two. Ottavino came in the seventh inning with the score tied, 4-4. The bulk of his damage came in the form of a go-ahead home run to Leury Garcia which gave the White Sox the lead for good. While Ottavino has given up a homer in consecutive appearances, he still owns a 1.80 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 38:20 K:BB.
Ottavino fired 1.1 innings in a scoreless relief appearance in the Yankees' 3-1 loss to the Tigers on Tuesday, striking out three with no walks. The righty has been as advertised so far for his new team, as he has yet to concede a run or a hit in any of his four relief appearances, to go along with six strikeouts against two walks. Save opportunities don't figure to come by all that frequently with Arolodis Chapman the go-to option at closer, but Ottavino's devastating stuff and brilliant 112:36 K:BB over 77.2 innings last season with Colorado suggest he'll continue to post stellar ratios and rack up plenty of strikeouts.
Ottavino threw a simulated game Monday, Pete Caldera of The Bergen Record reports. Instead of including Ottavino in the Grapefruit League pitching schedule, the Yankees have had him complete two simulated games to begin the spring. It's likely just part of a plan to open up more innings for some less-established arms rather than out of any concern about the health of Ottavino, who is already guaranteed a key setup role in a deep Yankees bullpen. Ottavino inked a three-year, $27 million pact with the club earlier in the winter after accruing a 2.43 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 13.0 K/9 in 75 appearances with the Rockies in 2018.
Ottavino did not receive a $17.9 million qualifying offer from Colorado prior to Friday's deadline, Nick Groke of The Athletic reports. The Rockies also refrained from issuing an offer to second baseman DJ LeMahieu, allowing both to become free agents. During the 2018 season, Ottavino logged a 2.43 ERA and 0.99 WHIP with a phenomenal 13.0 K/9 in 75 relief appearances. The 33-year-old figures to receive a healthy payday this winter.