Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dodgers Pick Pitcher Riley Ottesen in the Fifth Round - Welcome to the Blue!

For their fifth pick, 160th overall, of the 2017 Draft the Dodgers selected right-handed pitcher Riley Ottesen from the University of Utah. He's an over-aged sophomore who took a couple of years off to go on his mission to Japan. Per Tyler Crum at The Daily Utah Chronicle:
An unthinkable sacrifice for most college athletes, Ottesen did not throw a single pitch while on his mission, but he firmly believes any setback to his athletic career was justified by the life-changing experience.
“Japan was the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” he said. “A mission isn’t always the best two years of your life, but it’s the best two years for your life. It’s helped shape me into a person, a man and a husband that I may want to become in the future.”
He seems like a good kid, and best yet Riley is known as a power arm. He throws in the mid to high 90's and projects as a power reliever. Oh... And you gotta love this, per his twitter (@_ottesen_):
Per MLB's prospect report:
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45 
Ottesen graduated high school in 2012, but went on his Mormon mission in Japan before heading to the University of Utah last year. He had scouts rushing in to see him this year as a Draft-eligible sophomore when he began the year showing premium velocity, though he hasn't always maintained that all spring. 
The undersized right-hander was up to 96-98 mph early in the spring, and will touch that early in starts on occasion. But more often than not, he's operated in the 90-95 mph range. Ottesen uses a weighted ball as part of his workout regimen and that often can translate to high velocities early, but not necessarily deep into starts or throughout an entire season. There isn't a ton of deception and his fastball can be straight, so if he doesn't command it down in the zone, it gets hit, and he doesn't miss as many bats as you'd expect from someone throwing that hard. Ottesen will flash an above-average slider and a solid changeup as well, with different scouts seeing each as the better secondary offering in different outings. 
Because of his size, his inability to maintain velocity and his fringy command, most see the 22-year-old as a future reliever. The lack of life to his fastball might keep him from closing, but he could develop into a solid setup man in time.
Below are more links focused on the newest Dodger draftee:
“Ottesen is up to 98 (mph) with plus-secondary stuff,” Gasparino said. “He’s a guy who went on a mission and missed two years of college baseball and came back, so we thought he was a little undervalued because his stuff grades out as high-end Major League quality. We’re hoping we can just help the command, get him to repeat a little better, help his delivery.”
Ottesen started 15 of 16 games as Utah’s typical Saturday starter, going 5–4 with a 4.93 ERA and striking out 72 in 95 innings. 
"I'll be open-minded for whatever comes my way," Ottesen said. "I'm just excited, ready and hopeful for anything, really. I don't really care what team it is. I don't really care what money I get. I just want to have the opportunity to go out and play some pro ball."
"He's got arm speed. You can't teach that," said one former professional scout who has watched Ottesen pitch since high school. "A guy is just born with that arm speed. And you know what? Everybody is looking for power arms, and he's a power arm. I saw him his last outing against Arizona State, and he was 94 to 95 [mph] in the seventh inning and he was right close to 100 pitches. The other thing that shows that he has arm strength is he's 94, 95 out of the stretch."
In honor of his selection by the Dodgers I decided to make a couple fantasy Baseball cards of him.  For the card on the left I used a couple photos taken from Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune and the 1981 Topps Baseball card design.  For the card on the right I grabbed a photo taken by Deseret News photographer Scott Winterton on the 1987 Donruss Baseball card design.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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