Amid a fairly competitive season — but one that likely won't end in a playoff berth — the Tigers have been rather inactive on the trade market. However, a few hours before Friday's deadline, the Tigers dealt for a little farm system depth.
Reese Olson, a right-handed minor leaguer, comes to the organization from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for left-handed reliever Daniel Norris.
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Who is Reese Olson?
Glad you asked. Olson, who turns 22 on Saturday, is a high-strikeout pitcher on a hot streak for the High-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (located in Appleton, Wisconsin).
The Brewers took Olson in the 13th round of the 2018 draft, and he has yet to pitch above Class A, though the lack of minor-league baseball in 2020 due to the pandemic was a setback. Olson wasn't invited to spring training this year, but he and a select group of Brewers prospects were present for the preseason and saw how the major leaguers prepare.
Olson (5-4) has a 4.30 ERA, 1.348 WHIP with 79strikeouts and 35 walks in 69 innings. He also has a .228 opponents' batting average over 14 starts for the Timbler Rattlers; he's on pace for the lowest ERA, WHIP and OBA of his three seasons in the minors.
Olson's strikeout total and rate (10.3 per nine innings pitched) are third among qualified High-A Central pitchers, according to the Tigers. He also ranks in the top 10 in opponent batting average, innings and WHIP.
'Things are different in 2021'
The Athletic earlier this season deemed Olson a "sneaky pick for the farm system's breakout pitcher of the year."
A month into play, Olson had a 4.26 ERA and 1.26 WHIP with 26 strikeouts in 19 innings — not far off his current ERA, WHIP and strikeout rate for the season.
He'd previously struggled to throw his offspeed pitches for strikes, but heading into the season, he worked on throwing his changeup more often and getting ahead in the count.
"Two years ago... His changeup was inconsistent," The Athletic's Will Sammon wrote June 2. "He’d try to compensate with a fastball, but that only led to rough outings. Things are different in 2021. He perseveres when teams jump on him early. He attacks the strike zone."
A recent hot streak
His nice start to the season earned Olson some love from Brewers minor league bloggers and reporters. But he cooled off in mid-to-late June before running a nice string of starts this month.
He pitched earlier this week vs. the South Bend Cubs, allowing one hit and no runs over five innings.
Olson has allowed two or fewer runs in four of his five July starts, racking up 24 strikeouts and ceding nine earned runs over 25⅔ innings.
In his minor-league career, Olson has made 45 appearances (30 starts), going 9-13 with a 4.55 ERA and 169 strikeouts across 174 innings
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers' Reese Olson: Young RHP enjoying a strong month