Prior to being drafted by the Yankees, Glenn Otto spent most of his time working out of the bullpen for the Rice Owls in college.
The 6-foot 5-inch tall, 240-pound right-hander from Houston, Texas owned a 18-6 record with Rice University over three seasons. Pitching to a 2.62 ERA over 82 games and striking out 222 batters in 172 innings. In all but four games, he pitched out of the bullpen.
The Yankees liked what they saw and drafted him in the fifth round with the intention of having him transition to the rotation full-time.
“It’s been a little bit of an adjustment for him,” Staten Island Yankees Pitching Coach Travis Phelps said of Glenn Otto’s transition from college reliever to professional starter.
“It is a little bit of a different style of pitching, a different mentality but he is really starting to grasp it and understand it. “
“It’s been refreshing,” Otto said about getting into the routine of a starting pitcher, “I have gotten into that routine where I throw a light bullpen once between outings and have a scheduled now. It’s structured and a lot easier to follow and a lot easier to be successful with that in hand.”
So far you cannot argue with the results. Otto had a two-game tune up in the Gulf Coast League before being promoted to the Staten Island Yankees on July 20.
“It was something I looked forward to ever since the draft,” he said, “There was a lot of great guys down there to help me out. I was able to take it slow, coming off the college season and not really rush into anything and make sure I was mentally and physically ready to get going. We did that and everything felt really good.”
Between the two levels he owns a 2-0 record with a 1.17 ERA and 25 strikeouts over 15 1/3 innings. That includes three no-hit innings on August 19 against the Lowell Spinners. For most of his time in, the NY-Penn League he has worked in a tandem with fellow 2017 draftee, Trevor Stephan.
“It’s been fun,” Otto said about working with Stephan, “we kind of complement each other pretty well as far as stuff goes. I grew up with him, playing against him a lot when I was the age of 9-12. We worked out together in High School a little bit so we are familiar with each other and kind of kept track of each other along the college ranks., He is a great guy, and he has been doing well, so it is great to come in after somebody like that.”
Otto has taken to the adjustment well according to Phelps, “In college he [Otto] didn’t get the opportunity to pitch off of his fastball that much. Their coaches wanted him throwing a lot of curveballs to righties so he is learning how to pitch off of that fastball and he is developing a change up, and he is doing an excellent job with both of them.”
“It was a relief for me,” Otto said about the adjustment, “I had a lot of outings in a short period of time as a reliever. I felt like I didn’t really have the opportunity to recover sometimes like I would have liked. But becoming a starter, you get a routine and a whole week and 6 or 7 days to recover. With that program in place, you get to be a lot more refreshed for the next outing.”
He has shown a maturity about the switch.
“You’re not always going to have your best stuff but you want to do as much as you can in between start and just get into the right mindset going into the week so you do well.”
While Otto continues to work on the transition, his real test will come in 2018 when he will have his first full season in professional baseball and his first chance to be a starter full-time.