Thursday, November 8, 2012

Player Capsules - Michael Olmsted

I've stirred from my offseason laziness/procrastination to cover the Brewers' acquisitions so far, partially out of boredom and partially out of guilt for being a lazy procrastinating blogger. All three of the team's claims are interesting, and all for different reasons. Arcenio Leon is notable for having a cool name, Jairo Asencio is notable because I've heard of him, and Michael Olmsted is notable because he is a large human and he might actually have some talent. I'll start by looking at Olmsted, as he is the most intriguing pickup. The Brewers signed him as a minor league free agent, and instantly added him to the 40-man roster, protecting him from the Rule 5 Draft and making it likely that we'll see him at some point in 2013.

Name: Michael Olmsted
Birthdate: May 2, 1987 (age 25)
Bats/Throws: R/R
Height/Weight: 6-6, 245
Position: RP
Looks like:

Drafted by the Mets in the 9th round of the 2007 draft out of Cypress College in California, Michael Olmsted began his minor league career as a starting pitcher in the Mets system before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2008. Prior to the surgery, Olmsted put up some nice numbers in '07 and '08 but never pitched above Class A. The Mets cut ties with him during 2009 and he spent 2010 pitching briefly in Japan (for Kam Loe's old team, coincidentally) and in independent ball before signing with the Red Sox in 2011.

Olmsted was outstanding while pitching in the Sox's system, making a combined 68 appearances (all in relief) in 2011 and 2012 while sporting a 1.47 ERA with 140 strikeouts (!) in 91.2 innings. In addition to the ridiculous number of whiffs, he kept butts off the bases to the tune of a 0.86 WHIP with a solid 2.45 BB/9. Only 14 of Olmsted's appearances were above Class A, but his AA numbers were still impressive, allowing just 18 baserunners in 20 innings while punching out 31.

As far as his stuff, Olmsted features a fastball that varies anywhere from 90-97 with a tight slider that he controls really well. The fastball velocity is easy due to his large frame and he can get good plane due to his height, but has trouble keeping velocity from game to game and sometimes the pitch doesn't have a whole lot of life. The slider is lethal and can be used to hitters from both sides of the plate, and his lack of significant platoon splits is a testament to how well he uses both pitches.

Considering Boston's bullpen woes and that Olmsted projects as a major-league reliever, it's surprising he never got a chance above AA, or a spot on their 40-man roster to prevent him from reaching free agency. This has all the makings of another one of Doug Melvin's sneaky pickups, something he seems to have a real knack for. If Olmsted has a strong camp and/or good start to the minor league season, he could be a significant factor in the Brewers' bullpen next season and beyond.

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