This past Sunday, I wrote about how Adam Ottavino is studying Garrett Richards‘ pitch usage in hopes of improving his performance against left-handed hitters. Not included in the article were details about his signature pitch, which is actually three pitches in one. The Colorado Rockies reliever throws his slider from two arm angles and with two different grips. As a result, the shape varies, as does the velocity, from 80 to 87 mph. Ottavino explained this to me – and touched on related subjects – last week in Phoenix.
Adam Ottavino on release points: “I was recently looking at my release point charts on Brooks Baseball – all four years of data they have on me – and it’s interesting to see that the data is consistent with the mechanical adjustments I’ve made. You can see when I’ve moved over on the rubber. It’s interesting to look at how I’ve evolved over the last three years, and how the things I tried to do, I actually did do.
“On both axis, my release point was the most consistent in 2013, which is actually the year I had the most success. Last year it was a little less consistent, but that’s partially because I was changing my arm angle slightly on breaking balls. I was doing that intentionally to affect some sort of different view from the hitter’s perspective.”
On his slider variations: “I throw sliders multiple ways. They all read the same – they read as sliders on PITCHf/x — but they are three different pitches. There’s more of an up-and-down, more of a slurve, and one with more of a straight lateral break. I do that with two different grips. As a pitcher who throws such a high percentage of breaking balls (47.3% in 2014), I don’t want to make them all exactly the same, Even if the hitter reads slider out of my hand, he can’t be totally sure where it will end up.” Read the rest of this entry »