Monday, April 21, 2008

The mystique of Trace Olson

Not everyone lives up to their expectations but when there are high expectations and high ratings, especially of a pitcher, many teams will give that player a chance. Trace Olson has never produced at the ML level like his ratings suggest he could but there are plenty of teams willing to give him a shot, as evidenced by his trade history.

Olson was the number one overall pick in the season 2 draft by Pittsburgh. Since then he has played in just about every city available in HBD and has been traded four times since the start of season 6. His best ML performance came this season when he posted a 3-2 record and a 4.25 ERA in six starts for Detroit. But when one looks at Olson's projected ratings (88 control, 65/83 splits, 91, 72 pitches, 93 overall) you can't help but wonder why he's become an afterthought.

Perhaps his development was stunted when he was called up to the majors at the ripe age of 20 in season 4. A 13.15 ERA in 4 starts will hamper anyone's confidence. But from season 4 to season 6 Olson showed good improvement while pitchng mostly in AAA before stalling completely after season 6.

Something no team has yet to try is using Olson out of the bullpen. At this point it's readily apparent that Olson is not a front of the roation ML starter. If he can perform like he did in his time with Detroit this season then he can become a solid back of the rotation guy. But with just two noteworthy pitches (one of them an excellent fastball) Olson may be better used out of the bullpen as a setup guy or perhaps even a closer.

Time will tell if Olson's new team, Philadelphia, will attempt to reincarnate Trace as a reliever but if you're still waiting for the former number one overall pick to come around as a starter, that train has left the station. And hey, if Olson doesn't work out in Philly, there will be another GM willing to give him a chance in another city.

Trace Olson
Age: 24B/T: S/R
Born: Tioga Center, NY
Position(s): P (SP2)
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