Seattle Mariners’ Spring Battles: Second Southpaw Reliever

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Feb 26, 2015; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Tyler Olson poses for a portrait during photo day at Peoria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Early Favorite: Tyler Olson

Tyler Olson entered spring training as a relative unknown to M’s fans, having never pitched above Double-A. However, over the course of just two appearances, Olson has made big impression on the Mariner faithful. The 25-year-old southpaw has hurled three perfect innings to open the spring, and has added five strikeouts. Olson struck out the side against the Cleveland Indians on Monday afternoon.

The former 7th round selection out of Gonzaga started 2014 with the High Desert Mavericks of the California League. Olson flourished, going 2-1, and registering a 3.13 ERA across five starts. His performance with the Mavericks warranted a promotion to the Jackson Generals of the Southern League. Olson’s transition at Double-A was a smooth one, and he finished the season with a record of 10-7 and an ERA of 3.52 across 22 starts. He has great command of all his pitches, and held the opposition to just 1.8 walks per 9 innings. He did a great job limiting the long ball, allowing just 8 home runs in 148.1 innings of work last season. Olson posted an impressive 4.0 strikeout to walk ratio during his time with the Generals.

While Tyler Olson is not known as a power lefty, he does an effective job hitting his spots and mixing speeds. He held left-handed hitters to a .206 batting average in 2014. The M’s may prefer to send Olson down to Tacoma at the end of this month for more seasoning. However, the Spokane native may force his way onto the club if he continues to shine in Arizona.

Next: The Underdog