Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2021: Glenn Otto (RHP, #28)
As we go through the MLB Pipeline Top-30 Yankees prospects, the right-handed Glenn Otto is our third newcomer in a row to the list. One of the older prospects in the system at 25 years old, Otto has gone through a lot to get where he is though he could move up the minors quickly as a reliever if he can stay healthy.
GLENN OTTO, RHP (#28):
Age/Date of Birth: 25 Years Old (03/11/1996)
Most Recent Team(s) (Level and Year): Tampa Tarpons (Class-A Advanced, 2019), Yankees West/East (Gulf Coast League, 2019), Surprise Saguaros (Arizona Fall League, 2019)
Most Recent Yearly Statistics (2019, Regular Season): 14 Games Started (17 Appearances), 3-3 Record, 3.23 ERA, 61.1 Innings, 36 Walks, 74 Strikeouts, 1.50 WHIP
Most Recent Yearly Statistics (2019, Arizona Fall League): Games Started (6 Appearances), 3-1 Record, 1.88 ERA, 24.0 Innings, 13 Walks, 26 Strikeouts, 0.958 WHIP
Height/Weight: 6’3”/240 Pounds
Acquired: Drafted in the 5th round of the 2017 MLB First Year Player Draft by the New York Yankees with the 152th overall pick.
MLB ETA: 2022
GLENN OTTO SCOUTING GRADES (20-80 SCALE):
What to Know:
Undrafted out of high school, Otto attended Rice University (Houston, TX; NCAA D-I, Conference-USA) where he was predominantly used as a reliever during his three year career, making just 4 starts between 82 appearances. He had no notable stats (i.e. no conference leading stats, etc.) in his college career but showed consistency in the bullpen (WHIP’s of 1.171, 1.158, and 1.324).
After being drafted, the Yankees quickly tried to convert the collegiate reliever into a starter, which has worked well for them in the past. He made to “starts” (neither lasted more than 2 innings) with the GCL Yankees West and East before moving to the Staten Island Yankees for 7 appearances and 2 starts to finish out his successful 2017 season.
Every other season hasn’t been that same way for Otto, however. After missing most of the 2018 season after getting surgery to remove a blood clot from his pitching shoulder, Otto found himself dealing around a ribcage injury in 2019 and then a missed 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of this has led to just 91.2 total innings of work over 3 professional seasons (and 4 years as a professional ballplayer), including a great performance in the Arizona Fall League in 2019.
Glenn Otto has two pitches very well and tries to improve on a third which has had minimal success so far. With his 4-seam fastball, he gets it to sit between 92-94 MPH that topped out at 2019 (and hit 98 pre-shoulder surgery). He also has a solid curveball that he can get to operate with a 12-6 break while sitting between 78 and 81 MPH. However, his deception could be improved if he is able to work on his changeup which runs too quick.
What Will the Future Hold?
Glenn Otto has pitched as high as Class A-Advanced with the Tampa Tarpons (now Low Class-A), and I would want him to start the 2021 with the High Class-A Hudson Valley Renegades. 2021 will be the season where we figure if Otto has the value, although it is likely low given his slipping through the 2020 Rule 5 Draft. If he can develop this changeup, the value that the Yankees hoped on back in 2017 is possible. Though, Otto could see a likely shot at the 2022 bullpen, developing a pitch at 25 years old is far easier said than done and there is a far greater change of it not happening.
I would not want to try Otto in a starting role going forward. Understandably, the transition to the bullpen tends to come later in a prospect cycle/career and we’ve just about reached that point here. The injury history doesn’t concern me too much as it seems to have been two freak things, but his rule 5 eligibility does make him a hard case to add to the 40-Man roster if he shows just moderate improvements. I’m just not sold on Otto becoming the next Ottavino as of now.