With the 2022 regular season over, it is that time where we go back and take a look at the players who appeared for the Texas Rangers this past season.
Today, we look at pitcher Glenn Otto.
Glenn Otto did not break camp with the Rangers in 2022, had a stint on the COVID-19 injured list, and yet still was third on the team in starts and innings pitched. Kind of sums of the 2022 season as far as the starting rotation goes, doesn’t it?
Otto came to the Rangers at the trade deadline in 2021 as part of the package Texas got for Joey Gallo. A fifth round pick out of Rice University in 2017, Otto had limited professional innings prior to 2021 due to injuries and the pandemic wiping out the minor league season in 2020. 2021 was a breakout year for him, though, one that saw him shoot up the prospect lists and landed him in his home state of Texas.
Otto was among those competing for a spot in the rotation in spring training in 2022, but was beat out by Taylor Hearn and Spencer Howard. It is worth noting that, due to the lockout, spring training was shorter than usual, and Hearn and Howard were considered the favorites going into camp. So it may not be so much that they beat Otto out, as that they didn’t do anything to lose the spots they had been penciled into to Otto.
In any case, with the early rotation problems involving Jon Gray and Spencer Howard having i.l. stints in April, Otto started game 13 of the season for Texas, and other than during his time on the COVID i.l. he remained in the rotation the remainder of the year. He was not particularly successful in the rotation — a 4.64 ERA in 135.2 IP, with a 5.01 xERA and a 5.21 FIP — but he was better than a lot of the other options that the Rangers looked at.
The issue of whether Otto can remain a starter long-term or is destined for a bullpen role remains unresolved. There have been concerns about whether Otto would physically hold up under a starter’s workload. Otto actually was better in the second half than in the first half in 2022, though, with a 5.40 ERA in 13 starts pre-ASB and a 4.01 ERA in 14 starts after the Break.
That being said, Otto didn’t necessarily have a full on starter’s workload in 2022, either. Otto pitched into the sixth inning in only 12 of his 27 starts, and never pitched more than six innings in a start. He also allowed hitters a 657 OPS the first time through the order, compared to a 734 OPS overall, providing some support for the notion that he’s better suited for the sort of short stints that a reliever would have. Otto allowed a .286 xwOBA on his sweeper (the big breaking slider that is his primary breaking ball) in 2022, with every other pitch resulting in a .343 xwOBA or higher. A relief role would probably allow him to rely more heavily on his sweeper, and less on his lesser pitches.