Features

#MLBPlayers411 | Tyler Olson

   09-22-2017

Related Links

Virtually unknown last July when he was claimed by the Indians from the Royals' organization, Tyler Olson is quickly establishing a reputation around the American League as a shut-down reliever.

The 27-year-old left-hander from Spokane, Wash., has been used in 26 games since he was called up in late July by the defending AL champion Indians.

Twenty-six times Olson has made the walk from the bullpen to the mound, and 26 times he has not allowed an opponent to score.

His pitching line this season: zero runs allowed over 17 2/3 innings pitched. Olson has given up 12 hits and has walked four batters, compared to 17 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting just .194 off him.

“He's aggressive in the zone, throws strikes and gets people out. There's a lot to like,” manager Terry Francona said.

Olson owns the major league's longest streak of scoreless appearances this season and the longest since Adam Liberatore went 28 straight games from May to July in 2016. Additionally, Olson's 26 straight scoreless appearances to start a season rank as the third longest streak in MLB history, trailing only Mike Myers' 33-game streak in 2000 and Brad Ziegler's 29-game streak in 2008.

Mainly used as a left-handed specialist, Olson has yielded just five hits in 34 at-bats – just a .147 average, which is the 10th-lowest average in baseball – to left-handed batters. He got more work when all-star Andrew Miller went on the disabled list in August.

He's now an integral part of arguably the majors' best bullpen, as Cleveland relievers have combined for a 2.79 earned run average, the lowest among 30 teams.

Thursday night, Olson picked up his first-career save, while the night before he earned his first major-league win in over two years.

“That [ball is] definitely going on a plaque back at home,” Olson told Fox Sports Ohio after the game. “It's pretty special.” 

Olson was an unsung hero during the Indians' recent 22-game win streak, appearing in eight games and recording five holds.

Olson doesn't overpower opponents with a dominating, high 90s fastball that is the norm now among late-inning specialists. Rather, he depends on his off-speed pitches, highlighted by his curveball and slider. Olson is a four-pitch reliever, using a fastball and change-up along with the two breaking balls.

Drafted by the Mariners in the seventh round of the 2013 draft, Olson started 27 games in his first full professional season in 2014 and went 12-8 with a 3.46 ERA split between High-A and Double-A. Olson attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, where he was named the West Coast Conference's Pitcher of the Year in 2013, after going 9-4 with a 2.48 ERA as a senior. 

To see more photos of Olson, click here.

To read more #MLBPlayers411, click here

 

@tolson_13