Monday, January 19, 2009

Garrett Olson 2009

When a team has as many question marks on their pitching staff as the Baltimore Orioles, you generally don't expect to see them trading pitching for hitting, but that's exactly what the Baltimore Orioles did yesterday as they traded Garrett Olson and minor leaguer Henry Williamson for Felix Pie. It's always worth looking closely at pitchers going from the American League to the National League, as they not only benefit from facing pitchers instead of the DH, but also face a slightly easier level of competition overall. However, Olson is going to need to improve quite a bit to provide any value in most formats. While his 2008 statistics (K/9: 5.1, BB/9: 3.8, GB% 41.9%) were actually an improvement on 2007 (when he walked a batter per inning), they were still pretty awful. The league change will help, and between that and the natural improvement that can be expected from a 25 year old pitcher, Olson may be good to keep a spot in the Cubs rotation if he's able to beat out Sean Marshall for the last spot (which I doubt). That said, Olson is still a very mediocre pitcher, and not someone I'd want on my fantasy team in 2009. And with a fastball in the high 80s, he seems unlikely to show the kind of sudden improvement that would change that opinion.

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