Editor’s Note: This article was written prior to the anticipated Rangers/Yankees trade that is rumored to be sending Glenn Otto to the Texas Rangers.
Glenn Otto has become one of the top pitchers in the New York Yankees farm system, going from #45 on our top 50 Yankees prospects to #23 in a matter of months. The right handed starter was promoted to Triple-A on July 13th, 2021 after he terrorized batters in the Double-A Northeast League this season. With a league leading 103 strikeouts in 65.1 innings and a 3.17 ERA, he held opponents to a .197 batting average and owned a whopping 7.36 K/9 ratio in Double-A.
A fifth round pick in 2017 out of Rice University, Otto dealt with injuries through his first few years in the Yankees system, missing almost all of 2018 due to a blood clot and a portion of 2019 with a rib cage injury.
“The last couple of years have been a little disappointing,” Otto said. “It definitely is tough and injuries are never easy… (but) I learned a lot through that process about how to treat my body right off the field.”
Otto was invited to MLB spring training in 2021, where he did not allow a run in three relief appearances.
“Being in big league spring training definitely helped, being around those guys and listening to what helps them,” Otto explained. “You never know what you might hear that might make something click for you.”
Otto’s 14 walks through 10 starts are less than half the walks he allowed in the same time span in 2019. He credits that to some adjustments he made in his delivery during the spring. Explaining his changes, Otto said that he made “just a little change in posture that helps me stay more in a straight line towards my target and helps me initiate momentum down the slope… just keeping everything balanced and in line throughout the rest of the delivery and not overthinking it… that’s been huge.”
In 2021, Otto has improved his strikeout rate: increasing from 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) prior to this season to 14.19 K/9 this year. He has struck out at least ten batters in five of his ten starts this season, including two 14 strikeouts performances. In July, Otto became the first pitcher in Double-A to reach the 100 strikeout mark on the season.
Otto, a Spring, Texas native, worked extensively with the minor league coaching staff this spring. He credits Somerset Patriots Pitching Coach Daniel Moskos, as well as Yankees Director of Pitching Sam Briend and Director of Performance Science John Kremer for helping him with these adjustments.
Here’s some highlights from Glenn Otto Jr.’s lights out start last night.
— Eli Fishman (@elijfishman) June 16, 2021
The Scouting Report
The 25-year old’s repertoire features a fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup. He primarily sticks with the fastball-curveball combo. His fastball has reached 96 MPH, and occasionally has some late life to it. It spins slowly, and often fools hitters due to the spin being slow but the ball counterintuitively moving fast. “I try to get as much ride on my fastball as I can, but still be able to command it and get ahead with it,” Otto said.
The curveball has been an extremely important pitch in Otto’s repertoire as well. “I feel like I can go to it whenever I need to,” he explained. “It’s nice to get deep in the count and still go to a pitch that I feel I have an advantage with when they might be expecting something different.”
Otto’s changeup is a relatively new pitch, but he says that it could be a key for success at the next level if it continues to develop.
When Yankees first baseman Luke Voit made a rehab appearance for the Somerset Patriots, he told the media in a pre-game interview “I was really impressed with Otto, I think he’s got big league stuff… his swing and miss was great, (and) his ability to pitch up in the zone and his (curveball) was great.”
Otto has also earned honors from Minor League Baseball this season as a two-time Northeast League Pitcher of the Week, and made our Prospects1500 Team of the Week three times.
A Look Ahead
With the New York Yankees pitching staff depleted due to injuries and inconsistency as of late, they are on the hunt for some help. The Yankees do not currently have an opening on the 40-man roster, but when one arises, Otto is a top candidate for a big league promotion. He’s eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, meaning he will likely be added to the roster in the offseason regardless. If not, he could be picked up by another team.
Otto has pitched out of the bullpen numerous times in his professional career, and was a closer in college, so he would be able to fulfill many roles in the big leagues whenever his name is called.
Eli Fishman is a Northeast League (Double-A) correspondent at Prospects1500. He is an incoming freshman at Ithaca College, and has three years of experience writing for sites such as Last Word On Baseball, In The Zone Sports, Jersey Sporting News, and his high school’s award winning paper, The Columbian. Additionally, Eli is the play-by-play voice of the Jersey Pilots, a summer collegiate baseball team based in Madison, NJ.