One of the more intriguing southpaw relievers the Rays have in their system is next up on our list, and he has one of the more interesting deliveries among Rays prospects.
No.41, LHP Travis Ott, 22 yrs old
Born: Jun 29th, 1995 in Shippensburg, PA
Height/Weight: 6’4” 175 lbs Bats/Throws: L/L
Signed: by the Nationals after being selected in the 25th rd of the 2013 draft for
Twitter handle: @ott_travis
Twitter profile statement: “happily taken. Tampa bay Rays”
Baseball America Rankings
DRB Writers ranking
- High: 29
- Low: 54
Travis Ott: Abilities
- 74 to 76 MPH Curve (
- 87 to 90 MPH Fastball
- Sweeping Slider which some grade above-average
- Change up
- Abilities notes: Although the velocity may be lacking, Ott has deception in spades and also fields his position very well.
Joined the Rays by way of....
- Trade, on December 19th 2014, when the Rays landed RF Steven Souza Jr. and LHP Travis Ott from the Washington Nationals (Rays sent Wil Myers to SD for Joe Ross and Trea Turner, then flipped both for Souza and Ott). Some say Souza’s performance in 2017 has vindicated the Rays for what many see as a horrible trade, but Ott may have more to add to that argument.
Latest Transaction: assigned to Montgomery Biscuits from Charlotte Stone Crabs on September 10th, 2017.
Note - As an oddity, Ott was selected by the Nats in the same round as the Rays selected LHP Stone Speer who was signed by the Nats and spent 2017 assigned to their Potomac affiliate (but never actually threw for them in 2017)
Facts, Honors, and Awards
- Comes from a family filled with drag racers: His dad Rick Ott, brother Ricky, and even his grand-mother Laura have raced.
- Adam Sanford posted an interesting article about Ott here, with a view of his Cobb-ish like leg kick.
- BA’s Hudson Belinksky came away from the 2016 NYP all-star game extremely impressed with Ott, and once noted that Ott was “wiry and deceptive from the left side.”
- On being traded, Ott had this to say,
“It was different. I wasn’t expecting to be traded,” Ott said. “Last year, in August, I was called up from the Penn League to the Sally League so I got a little promotion but then I got brought back down here. It’s a little disappointing but it comes with the changes. Right now I’m just working a lot harder trying to show myself and prove myself.”
- On why he adopted a new arm angle in 2015, he added this,
“It was a comfort thing,” Ott said. “I was over the top last year and ever since I’ve been drafted I was over the top but at the end of the season last year I had some discomfort in my shoulder, so I made some adjustments on my own in the offseason and it’s working so far. I don’t have that discomfort anymore and it’s all about the health of your arm.”
- And on having to repeat the same level but finally getting a promotion, Ott had this to add,
“It’s nice,” he said of the prospect of pitching his way out of the New York-Penn League. “Nobody wants to repeat the same league. But I can take some positives out of it. I’ve learned a lot how to pitch to certain batters. I’m able to help out my teammates and help them know how to pitch and what to throw at this level. I’m just taking my role as a pitcher and helping guys out.”
You can find out more about him by listening to this interview (audio only)
Travis Ott 2017
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Stats Notes: The 2017 season was the first that saw Ott below 45% in GB rates since 2013 as he managed 37.5%. It was also the first season he exceeded 100 IP, indicating that he’ll likely have no restriction on innings in 2018.
Interesting Comparison: Aaron Loup & Jerry Blevins
- While Loup’s delivery compares well to Ott’s, Blevins’ body type is closer to Ott’s at 6’6”, Ott is 6’4”) and 190 lbs (Ott is listed at 170 lbs). Combine Loup’s delivery with Blevins’ curve ball, and you’ve got Ott, a LHP who depends a lot on his curve balls to be effective on the mound.
- While Blevins has seen his velocity decline over the years, he began his career working within the same range as Ott, with a FB in the high 80s to low 90s, and with a curve in the 74-76 MPH range and a sweeping slider - something Ott introduced when he opted for the side-arm.
- I’m not suggesting l move to the pen for Ott, but that has been what some have pointed to as a serious option down the road.
Notes for 2018 and beyond
Travis Ott represents something the Rays often seem to be able to target in trade, a minor piece that winds up being more than others expected. Few took much note of him when the Rays also acquired Steven Souza, but he could hold some serious value down the road.
Being held back at the same level for what Ott - and others - deemed to be too long may have been frustrating, but it may also have set Ott up for success in the future. If Ott hadn’t been given the time to revamp his mechanics, arm angle, and arsenal at the lower levels of the minors, would he have that sorted out along with a tank full of confidence?
Hard to say, but it sure doesn’t hurt to know that he currently has both. And besides, he’s still well within a good timeline age-wise to get a chance at MLB.
There’s no doubt that a healthy Ott will get a chance at pitching in AA in 2018 (22 yrs old), and with continued success he’d put himself on the radar as a starter in AAA for 2019 (23 yrs old) and MLB thereafter (24 yrs old). That timeline works well and it provides time to gain the strength and length of innings expected in MLB.
And if he winds up going towards a relief role, he’ll likely get a look in MLB at an even quicker pace.
Work remains to be done before he gets a shot at MLB, however. Getting his BB% well under 10% would be a good start, and ensuring he can get more mature hitters out with sub-par velocity may be more crucial. With a smaller margin of error, Ott will have to make full use of his deception to be effective at the higher levels, and we’re anxiously waiting to see if he can make that work.
If successful, he’ll make a significant move up the rankings for 2019 and become one of the best 2-3 LHP the Rays have to draw from at that point.