Right-handed veteran relief pitcher Adam Ottavino signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the Mets last offseason, and established himself as a key piece of an often shaky bullpen. Ottavino gave up earned runs in 11 of his 66 appearances for the Mets, and only twice gave up multiple runs in an outing. Both of those came relatively early in the season against the Phillies and the Braves, where Ottavino surrendered three earned runs in Met losses.
After that hiccup, Ottavino was second only to Edwin Díaz as a reliable option out of the bullpen. The 37-year old veteran’s slider was still his marquee pitch, and he threw it 48.2% of the time in 2022. The pitch doesn’t have a ton of vertical movement, but the ‘frisbee’ slider has an insane amount of horizontal break, averaging 17.7 inches of movement. It was the 26th most effective pitch in all of baseball, according to Baseball Savant’s Run Value stat, with -17.
Relief pitching is notoriously the most volatile position, year to year, in all of baseball, but Ottavino has been a remarkably consistent reliever over his career. Aside from the 2020 shortened season, Ottavino hasn’t had a negative bWAR since his first season in 2010, and his 2022 2.3 bWAR is only a tenth of a point off his career best. Since 2015, he’s averaged at least ten strikeouts per nine innings, and his 2022 2.2 walks per nine is his career best.
In addition, Ottavino’s 51.3% groundball rate and increased sinker usage led to a career-low hard-hit ball rate of 30.1%. Quietly, Ottavino had one of the best seasons of his career, and one of the best for a relief pitcher in 2022. Of course, Edwin Díaz’s elite performance overshadowed Ottavino’s, but that should have no bearing on how people consider his 2022 season.
Even with some regression, Ottavino seems like a great fit for the Mets, who need to fill out a bullpen behind Díaz. MLB Trade Rumors projects his contract at 2 years/$14 million. If the Mets can sign him for that, they should do so quickly.