That Thing Dan Otero Had in Common with Zach Britton

The Indians signed reliever Dan Otero to a deal yesterday. It wasn’t for much in baseball terms, $2.5 million over two years, and that might make sense. He doesn’t strike anyone out and is only projected to be a little bit better than league average. That’s if you look at his overall arsenal. If you pick one pitch, he’s got a good one.

Take a look at Otero’s results on his sinker in the second half last year. They were outstanding.

Best Second Half Sinkers By Ground Ball Rate
Pitcher Pitches X Mov Z Mov Velo Whiff% GB%
Marc Rzepczynski 200 9.5 4.8 92.6 8.0% 97.0%
Tony Watson 219 10.4 4.1 94.1 8.7% 94.3%
Jared Hughes 318 -10.1 2.4 93.2 8.8% 93.8%
Richard Bleier 372 9.3 2.7 89.3 7.0% 93.3%
Zach Britton 503 6.0 4.8 96.1 10.1% 92.4%
Alex Claudio 428 9.8 -2.9 86.9 5.1% 92.1%
Dan Otero 284 -10.6 3.1 90.2 9.5% 91.7%
CC Sabathia 324 8.7 7.2 91.0 5.3% 91.3%
Marcus Stroman 1102 -6.8 2.5 92.9 4.9% 91.2%
Dallas Keuchel 912 5.2 5.6 88.6 6.0% 90.7%
SOURCE: Pitch Info / Brooks Baseball

Thirteen pitchers had a groundball rate over 90% on their sinkers last year. Otero had the third-best whiff rate in the group. 39 pitchers had a groundball rate over 80% on their sinkers last year. Otero had the fourth-best whiff rate in that group. In terms of a combination of otherworldly worm-burning and good whiff rate, Otero was most like Zach Britton. That’s a slightly injury-reduced Zach Britton, but it’s still Zach frigging Britton.

The results come on the back of great sink. Only 17 pitchers got more sink on their sinker, and of those 17, only 11 really had comparable arm slots. The others were sidearmers and submariners.

One great pitch. For a reliever, that’s good enough.

With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.

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6 years ago

i know this is completely unrelated, and im a huge fan of the website so id appreciate if you didnt ban me or anything, i have a small baseball blog just started it last month, i wrote a piece on the AL MVP award and all i want is for somebody, anyone who works at FG to take a look at it, and give me their take, its not much to ask for.

6 years ago
Reply to  E_Max23

Fangraphs has a community section where you can submit your work. I’d suggest trying that rather than linking out out to your blog. Cheers.