Free-Agent Reliever Adam Ottavino: 'I Would Strike Babe Ruth out Every Time'

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2018

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 12:  Adam Ottavino #0 of the Colorado Rockies pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers  at Coors Field on August 12, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Free-agent reliever Adam Ottavino doesn't need an agent to make a pitch to teams around the league on his behalf—he's doing a strong job of hyping up his skill set on his own.

Ottavino made headlines Monday by going on the Statcast podcast and proclaiming one of the greatest hitters in MLB history couldn't touch his pitches, h/t ESPN:

"I had an argument with a coach in Triple-A about Babe Ruth's effectiveness in today's game. I said, 'Babe Ruth, with that swing, swinging that bat, I got him hitting .140 with eight homers.

"He was like, 'are you nuts? Babe Ruth would hit .370 with 60 homers,' and I'm like, 'I would strike Babe Ruth out every time.'

"I'm not trying to disrespect him, you know, rest in peace, you know, shout out to Babe Ruth. But, it was a different game, I mean the guy ate hot dogs and drank beer and did whatever he did. It was just a different game."

Unfortunately, Ottavino will never have the opportunity to back up his talk.

Ruth is considered by many to be the greatest to ever lace them up, as he hit .342/.474/.690 and owned a 1.164 career slugging percentage. He retired as MLB's home run king, and more than 80 years later, he still ranks third all-time with 714 dingers.

Of course, the game has changed a lot since 1935. Pitchers are throwing harder than ever, teams use specialist relievers late in games, and defensive shifts have become a hitter's nightmare. And that's just to name a few changes.

Meanwhile, Ottavino owns a 3.68 career ERA and a 1.300 WHIP in 366 appearances since debuting in 2010, pitching seven of those years with hitter-friendly Coors Field as his home ballpark. The right-hander has struck out 10.1 batters per nine for his career, striking out 464 in 413 innings.

The 33-year-old is coming off his finest season to date, posting a 2.43 ERA and a 0.991 WHIP in 75 outings. He also struck out 112 hitters in 77.2 innings, recording a career-high 13.0 strikeouts per nine.

While some may laugh off Ottavino's comments, every pitcher needs to have the confidence in their stuff to believe they can strikeout everyone, even a legend like Ruth. And with Ottavino's performance in 2018, he has plenty of reason to hype up his game.

Teams may not take Ottavino's talk into account when it comes time to pay up, but his numbers should earn him a solid contract this winter.

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