Adam Oller wasn’t supposed to win the 2021 New York Mets Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award. In his age 26 season, Oller had finally made it to the Double-A level after several seasons of struggling with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants organizations.
Oller ended up going 5-3 with a 4.03 ERA with the Binghamton club before shining a bit brighter up in Triple-A with Syracuse. While there, Oller was 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 8 starts one level below the major leagues.
One could simply write this off as a minor league having some luck finally go his way. The Mets apparently saw enough from him to make Oller a part of their 40-man roster this offseason.
Adam Oller could turn out to be the next great Mets steal
A lot needs to happen before Oller, now 27, makes it to the major league level. There was plenty already against him. As a 20th round draft pick, he was theoretically never meant to make it as far as he has. Guys taken that far into the draft often end up working outside of baseball by the time they reach their late 20s.
Oller seems to be an exception.
Already with some experience in an Independent League and in Australia, Oller managed to get himself selected by the Mets in last winter’s minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Little did they know, he would go on to have a pretty solid season and become a part of their 40-man roster only a season later.
The Mets haven’t had much luck developing pitchers over the last few seasons. An attribute of the organization in the early part of the 2010s, many of their top pitching prospects have either been traded away or failed to develop into big leaguers.
In the vain of Rick Reed or R.A. Dickey, Oller could turn into one of those minor additions with a far more major impact. Obviously, he still has to prove himself at the major league level. First, he’ll need to get a chance to do it.
By protecting Oller alone and moving him to the 40-man roster, this suggests that the Mets could have him in line to start games for them in 2022 if the need arises. Innings out of the bullpen wouldn’t be so outrageous either.
Could it be that after so many years of watching Mets players leave and excel elsewhere that it’s Oller who becomes the next to do the complete opposite? Step one is complete. Step two, the pitching part, is next.