Searching For Saves: Should Fantasy Owners Target Greg Holland Or Adam Ottavino?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There is a battle building in the Colorado Rockies bullpen in terms who the closer will be.  First, let’s identify the candidates:

  1. Greg Holland
  2. Adam Ottavino

Both pitchers have shown the ability to be assets at the end of games, so who should fantasy owners be pulling for in this battle?  Let’s take a look:


Greg Holland
It’s been a long road back for Holland, who missed all of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery.  However, when you get these types of comments, courtesy of Nick Groke of The Denver Post (click here for the article), you appear to have the inside track:

“Ned Yost, Holland’s manager at Kansas City, called him one of the two best closers he has ever seen. In 2014, Holland recorded a 1.21 ERA, and in 2015 it was 1.44 ERA. He struck out two of every five batters he faced over those two seasons. And Holland was about to pitch in a World Series before his right elbow wore down to the point of surgery.”

There is no questioning the dominance, as Holland’s “decline” in ’15 with a 9.87 K/9 and 5.24 BB/9 were likely aided by his elbow troubles.  The owner of a career 12.11 K/9 (15.0% SwStr%) and 3.52 BB/9, the upside is obviously tremendous.

That’s not to say that he’s a lock to produce immediately.  We’ll have to wait and see if his velocity returns, after his career 95.5 mph dropped to 93.6 in the year prior to the injury (though Groke’s article notes that Holland touched 95 in his first spring appearance).  The owner of a career 44.4% groundball rate, pitching half his game in Coors Field could also lead to home run issues (though that’s not as much of a concern).

Assuming he’s healthy the strikeout/control of Holland is impressive and he has the upside of returning to one of the elite closers in the game.


Adam Ottavino
He’s battled his own injury issues in recent seasons, but over the past two years he’s flashed elite stuff of his own (albeit in limited innings of work):

  • 2015 (10.1 IP) – 11.32 K/9, 1.74 BB/9, 63.2% GB%
  • 2016 (27.0 IP) – 11.67 K/9, 2.33 BB/9, 61.9% GB%

He’d never shown this type of control or groundball rate before, though he’s also changed his approach.  After hardly utilizing a sinker in prior years, he threw one 25.35% of the time in ’15 and 25.65% of the time in ’16.  Throw in mixing in a cutter for the first time and the increased groundball rate makes sense.

Ottavino’s slider also flashes swing and miss stuff (17.19% Whiff% in ’16) and it all comes together nicely.  Regardless of the role Ottavino should hold value in all formats, as long as he’s healthy.


At the end of the day health is going to play a significant impact on the Rockies’ bullpen.  While Holland could get the first opportunity to close, given the new approach and the numbers he’s put up Ottavino could ultimately prove to be the better option.  Of course, given the current ADP that’s what most people are thinking:

  • Adam Ottavino – 168.88
  • Greg Holland – 309.96

While Ottavino is the ideal player to stash, given the uncertainty we’d be targeting Holland at his current ADP.  Either way you are getting a reliever with upside and uncertainty, so you’d be wise to target the cheaper option.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, STATS, The Denver Post

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Make sure to check out our 2017 Rankings:

Standard League
OBP League
First Base01/16/1703/07/17
Second Base03/22/1703/09/17
Third Base02/06/1703/12/17
Outfield#1-20 |03/16/17

#21-40 |03/16/17
Starting Pitcher#1-20 |02/27/17

#21-40 |03/02/17
Relief Pitcher01/02/17--

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