The Milwaukee Brewers added relief pitcher Michael Olmstead to their 40-man roster after they signed him to a minor-league deal this past weekend. Olmstead pitched in the Boston Red Sox’s minor league system in 2012.
The 25-year-old stands at a staggering 6-foot-7 and weighs 245 lbs. Olmstead is a hard thrower with a big slider and has the capability to hammer the strike zone on a consistent basis. His fastball tops out at 97 MPH but is consistently clocked between 95-97 MPH. His above-average slider is also known to rack up the strikeouts.
Olmstead posted a 1-4 record with an incredible 1.52 earned run average and 92 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings between high Class-A Salem Red Sox and Double-A Portland Sea Dogs. His 14 strikeouts per nine innings and 2.3 walks per nine innings with the two Red Sox affiliates are also numbers that jump out when looking over his statistics.
A baseball scout who went to go watch the Sea Dogs a few weeks ago to check out the talent caught a glimpse of Olmstead and could not believe his story.
“I look at the roster and see a 25-year-old guy who’s in his sixth year of pro ball, and he’s only in Double-A,” said one scout. “So I thought, ‘OK, organizational guy … but 6-foot-7, 245 pounds …
“Then he comes in throwing 97 [mph] with a big-time slider, pounding the strike zone, and I asked someone else, ‘This guy’s a big leaguer; what’s the story here?’”
In 2008, the right-hander injured his throwing elbow badly enough where he needed Tommy John Surgery to repair it. After taking off the 2009 season to rehab it, he was released from camp in 2010 before he got to show off his stuff. Olmstead became an assistant pitching coach at Cypress Junior College, the same school he attended when he was drafted by the New York Mets.
Olmstead soon found himself on a plane to Japan after a Japanese scout saw him pitch one day at the school. He was not overseas for long when he was informed that his mother’s cancer had forced her into a coma.
“She was in a coma, and I didn’t know if I would ever talk to her again,” said Olmsted. “But somehow, they induced her out of the coma to see and speak to me, and she lived 23 more days — some of the most important days of my life.”
Olmstead asked for his release from Japan’s Softbank Hawks and continued his work as an assistant coach at Cypress. He eventually caught his break with the Red Sox, but he never reached Triple-A let alone the Major Leagues.
With the Brewers, Olmstead might finally get that opportunity as the organization is in desperate need to revamp their bullpen. He will have a great chance to make the team in spring training, depending on the other competition Milwaukee brings in.
At the very least, Olmstead will spend some time in Triple-A at the beginning of 2013 and will be brought up to the big leagues if he continues to pitch well. Personally, if he can show even the slightest sign that he is Major League ready in spring training then I have no doubt he will be in the bullpen at the start of the season.
Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.