ROME, GA — The New York Yankees rebuild has been closely watched the past few seasons. While some arms like Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield are much closer to their highly-anticipated big league debuts, Glenn Otto leads the next wave of intriguing prospects to climb the ladder.
Otto was selected in the fifth round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of Rice. There he made just two starts in his 26 appearances of his final season, picking up seven wins and eight saves while striking out 81 in 59.2 innings. He was used similarly in his pro debut, making two starts and five relief appearances once he reached the New York-Penn League for the Staten Island Yankees. He looked good there, posting a 1.59 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 25-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17 innings. Despite pitching him in “relief” Otto was seldom used on back-to-back days, with SI keeping him on a starter’s schedule.
The 22-year-old righty is big, listed at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds. While he has a relatively smooth delivery, he had some issues finding the strike zone on my first look on a Wednesday start against the Rome Braves. Otto starts on the first base side and appears to step a little across his body, but plants right at home plate. He has an easy follow through and repeats his delivery pretty easily.
Otto has three pitches. His fastball sat 90-92 early on before settling in at 89-91 for most of his outing. He topped out at 93 in the second inning. The curve is a nice pitch, and when it is on, has a 12-6 drop that falls out of the strike zone. It is a true strikeout pitch, sitting at 80-81. The change was not used as much, and according to reports is still behind. That said, the mid-80s offering does have some life to it.
Otto was in and out of the strike zone, but that curveball is for real. A bit wild, but was able to pitch around it, not much contact (if any) made by anyone.— Wayne Cavadi (@UofDWayne) April 11, 2018
Final line: 6 IP, 1 H, 4 BB, 5 K #Yankees pic.twitter.com/r8RMlqdwyk
The righty was effectively wild against a Rome team that just could not get the bats going Wednesday afternoon. Otto lasted longer than his first outing, tossing six innings of one-hit, shutout ball. An efficient 5-0 groundout-to-flyout ratio helped keep him out of trouble, as he did walk four batters. Otto landed just 42 of his 75 pitches, just 56 percent, for strikes, but the promising takeaway there is he threw 75 pitches and went six innings. Early on, this should be what the Yankees want to see as he converts from reliever to starter.
The Yankees are clearly hoping Otto can succeed as a starter, but with his experience as a closer, they have a reliable backup plan for his future. He has a bit of a way to go in proving that he can last a few times through a lineup, but a back-of-the-rotation, innings-eating starter is not out of the question. Judging by the Yankees strategy with Chance Adams, they are in no rush with Otto. While he may make quick work of the low minors, don’t expect his Yankees debut any time soon.
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