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We need to talk about Travis Ott

It’s been over two years since the Rays made a massive three team deal with the San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals. Nine players ultimately were with new organizations, and among them was a 19 year old southpaw by the name of Travis Ott.

Ott was received from the Nationals along with Steven Souza Jr. While the Nationals were aggressive with Ott having him finish the 2014 in Single-A, the Rays have been painfully slow in moving him up the organization ladder despite decent numbers.

The Rays stationed Ott down in short-season Hudson Valley to begin his Rays tenure and they kept him there for the entire duration of the 2015 and 2016 seasons. This was due in part to injury, and limited slots at higher levels. Over that time, Ott has held opponents to a .213 batting average and he has allowed two runs or less in 20 of his 26 appearances.

For his efforts, he was selected to start the New York-Penn League All-Star Game last season where Hudson Belinsky of Baseball America was able to watch the lanky lefty first hand.

Ott has a wiry, lean frame with room for growth. His fastball touched 93 mph once and worked mostly at 89-92. He threw a pair of sliders, locating the pitch down and to his arm side and then down and to his glove side.

In 2017, the Rays finally bumped him back up to the Single-A level where he has been excellent for the Bowling Green Hot Rods. Outside of one run rough start, Ott has allowed just five runs in just under 38 innings pitched.

Ott currently has a scoreless (earned runs) streak over his last three starts, spanning 20 innings.

Emily Waldon of 2080 provided some video to show just how Ott’s getting it done, with a high leg kick reminiscent of Alex Cobb, and more common in Japanese starters.

Ott will turn 22 towards the end of June, but now that he is in full season ball, he could see a quicker rise through the system, especially if he keeps pitching the way he has been.