Phillies Claim Dan Otero Off Waivers from the Athletics
#Phillies have claimed RHP Dan Otero off waivers from the Oakland Athletics.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) November 3, 2015
Dan Otero turns 31 in February and is coming off of an uninspiring year out of the bullpen for the Oakland Athletics, finishing with a 6.75 ERA and a 28/6 K/BB ratio over 46 2/3 innings. His results were much better the year prior, as he compiled a 2.28 ERA and a 45/15 K/BB ratio over a comparatively larger sample of 86 2/3 innings.
The overarching theme of Otero’s career is that he doesn’t miss bats often, but doesn’t issue walks and induces an above-average amount of ground balls. He hits 90-92 MPH with his fastball and complements that with a typical change-up, slider, curve arsenal. He lost roughly 0.5 MPH on his fastball and slider from 2014 to ’15, and his ground ball rate went from 56 percent to below 49 percent. His home run rate more than doubled, from 7.1 to nearly 15 as a percentage of fly balls.
There’s no consensus as to what Otero’s issue was last year. Melissa Lockard of OaklandClubhouse suggests it was a loss of release point. Good ol’ statistical variation is another possibility. As I’ve written here countless times, relievers are volatile because they pitch so few innings, which is why as a group their numbers are prone to violent swings from one season to the next.
Otero won’t reach arbitration eligibility until after the 2016 season, so he’ll be a cheap reliever, earning under $1 million. He has the potential to rebound and become a valuable asset in the middle innings. The Phillies do need relief depth after cutting Justin De Fratus. If Otero doesn’t rebound, then the Phillies won’t have taken much of a risk at all.
The Otero waiver claim is the first acquisition of the Andy MacPhail/Matt Klentak era. It’s not flashy by any means, but at the outset, it seems savvy.