Breakdown of the Garrett Olson, Mets Signing
He doesn’t exactly instill the same confidence as signing C.J. Wilson, but the New York Mets still inked equally-southpawed Garrett Olson to a Minor League deal on December 12, 2011. The 27 year-old hurler spent 2011 with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, pitching a combined 90 innings between Triple-A and the Majors.
Olson was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles with the 48th overall pick in the 2005 draft. The 21 year-old impressed in his first Minor League season, posting a dominant 1.99 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 2.95 K/BB in 54.3 IP. The Orioles steadily pushed the left-hander along in 2006, starting him in Advanced A-ball (2.77 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 4.05 K/BB in 81.3 IP), and then promoting him to Double-A (3.42 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 2.74 K/BB in 84.3 IP. Overall, Olson owned a respectable 3.10 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 3.24 K/BB in 165.6 innings between the two levels.
Like clockwork, Olson again excelled in 2007, pitching to the tune of a 3.16 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 3.08 K/BB in 128 IP at Triple-A. The organization was so impressed with his maturity, that they promoted the 23 year-old to the Major Leagues. Unfortunately, Olson did not do well–getting smacked around with a 7.79 ERA, 2.16 WHIP, and 1.00 K/BB in 32.3 IP (fueled by an ugly 7.8 BB/9). The Orioles shuttled Olson back to Triple-A to start 2008, where he hurled a 2.97 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, and 2.44 K/BB in 36.3 IP, but they soon called on him again. Olson was promoted to the show in late-April. In his first month, the southpaw pitched decently, posting a 4.03 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, and 2.06 K/BB in 38 IP (7 Starts), but the wheels soon came off. Olson threw a dismal 7.70 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, and 1.10 K/BB the rest of the way (in 94.6 IP).
The Orioles, rightfully, grew disenchanted with the 25 year-old, and shipped him to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Felix Pie. His tenure in Chicago lasted just 10 days, as the Cubbies dealt the southpaw with Ronny Cedeno to the Seattle Mariners for Aaron Heilman. The Mariners used Olson mostly as a reliever in 2009, and the experiment was moderately successful (6.49 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 1.22 K/BB as a SP vs. 3.90 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 1.73 K/BB as a RP). The lefty spent most of his 2010 at Triple-A (3.66 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 3.33 K/BB in 46.6 IP) as he was so ineffective with the Mariners (4.54 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, and 2.07 K/BB in 37.6 IP). Like the Orioles, the Mariners gave-up on the lefty, and exposed him to waivers. On March 18, 2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates claimed Olson, and stashed him in Triple-A. Despite previously dominating Triple-A, in 2011, Olson struggled with his control (from 2.9 BB/9 to 4.9 BB/9) and saw a steep decline in strikeouts (from 9.6 K/9 to 6.4 K/9). The 27 year-old got a small cup of coffee with the Pirates in April, but his seemingly impressive 2.08 ERA and 1.15 WHIP was marred by horrendous control (6.2 BB/9).
Even with his three-pitch repertoire, Olson’s potential value to the Mets is extremely limited, as the pitcher has historically fared just as poorly against righties (.292/.372/.496 line against) as he has versus his own kind (.283/.369/.407). Given his lack of favorable splits, poor control, and drastic difference between his Minor League and Major League statistics, it’s fair to say that Garrett Olson does not belong in the Major Leagues.