Rising Star - Adam Ottavino

Adam Ottavino (2-3, 3.44), the 20-year-old a 6-5, 215-pounder, Northeastern College star, from Brooklyn, New York, was the Cardinals top pick in the 2006 draft (30th overall).

Ottavino started his professional career with four starts in the New York-Penn League, before he allowed an earned run. He finished with State College with a 2-2 record and a 3.14 ERA with 26 strikeouts. The 6'5" RHP was named the New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week for the week of July 2-9, before being promoted to the Swing of Quad Cities in late July.

Adam made eight starts with Quad Cities during the regular season, flashing a hard fastball and a nasty slider but falling behind often at times to get into trouble. Ottavino struck out 38 in 36.2 innings with the Swing while holding opponents to just a .211 batting average.

In his eighth start for Swing, Ottavino threw just two innings on the final day of the regular season, in order to get him ready for a post-season start against the Kane County Cougers. The first-round pick would have to come back on only after three days of rest to appear in game three of the Midwest League Quarterfinals.

The 2006 season came to an end for Ottavino and his teammates in that game three when the Kane County Cougars defeated the Swing in the decisive game in the Midwest League quarterfinals playoff match-up with a 10-7 victory.

Adam took the loss for the team, as he consistently found himself working from behind in the count. He allowed four runs – two earned – on six hits over just three innings of work, striking out three while walking three.

Ottavino started season with mixed results for the State College Spikes (NY-P), going 2-2 with a 3.14 ERA in six starts (28.2IP) that included 26 strikeouts and 13 walks.

He lasted through his first four professional career starts (19.2IP) without allowing an earned run, going 2-0 while striking out 19 and walking seven.

Ottavino's final two starts with State College looked like a lot like his start in the Midwest League playoffs. The first-rounder was roughed up for 10 runs on 18 hits in his final two games for the State College Spikes.

In his career at Northeastern, Ottavino went 13-13 with a 3.09 ERA and shattered the previous record for career strikeouts that had been set at 241. The hard-throwing righty fanned 290 batters in 253.1 innings while holding opponents to a .218 batting average.

Ottavino earned America East Pitcher of the Year honors in 2005 while being named first-team All-Conference as a sophomore, following that up by being named first team All-CAA (Colonial Athletic Association) after Northeastern switched conferences for his junior season.

Ottavino is currently in Florida with some of the other 2006 top draftees receiving individualized instruction in the St. Louis Cardinals 2006 Florida Winter Instructional League camp that runs from September 12th in Jupiter, Florida through October 5th.

At this time, I expect Ottavino to start the 2007 with the Swing of Quad Cities and depending on his early performances, we could see him with the High-A Palm Beach Cardinals by mid-season.

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