Garrett Olson (28 years old) was a former first round pick (supplemental round – pick 48) by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2005 draft. I was still living in Baltimore when he made his professional debut in 2007, and there was a lot of local hype around Olson (at the time, the Orioles were looking for hope anywhere and everywhere, and to some degree, still are). He struggled as a starter for two seasons as an Oriole, but before we get to his numbers, and his development as a player, his travels are equally interesting.
As stated before, he debuted with the Orioles in 2007. In January of 2009, he was traded with another Minor Leaguer to the Cubs for Felix Pie. Only 10 days after that, he was flipped to the Mariners, with Ronny Cedeno for our good friend, Aaron Heilman. This past March he was selected off of waivers by the Pirates, and then more recently, he signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets.
Since coming up to the majors, Olson has struggled as a starter. The Mariners were the first team to try him out as a reliever with moderate success. His numbers in the majors were never really great (last year’s 2.08 ERA was just over 4.1 innings). For the most part his numbers have been bad. However, he did show some promise in the minor leagues this year:
2011: 24 G, 15 GS, 85.2 IP, 3.05 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, 6.4 K/9
His stint in the minors last year shows two things. First, if he has to, he can be a starter. Second, he could also be an interesting reliever. For the Mets, he isn’t on the 40 man roster, so it will be difficult for him to break camp with the Mets after Spring Training. The only way I see this happening is:
- He is tried as a starter during the Spring, blows away his competition (Hefner, James) and the Mets have an open rotation spot for him
- He dominates the bullpen crowd, including the players on the 40-man trying to get on the 25 man
Similar to Chuck James, if I were the Mets, I would try him as a starter first in Spring, and then move him to the pen if necessary. At the end of the day, he is still a first round pick, and he is still young. You never know what you get with these types of signings.