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Andy Oliver

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Andrew Allen Oliver

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[edit] Biographical Information

Andy Oliver came to the majors at age 22.

[edit] Amateur Career

Oliver was 21-4 with 3 saves, a 0.96 ERA and 354 K in 196 innings in high school. The Minnesota Twins took him in the 17th round of the 2006 amateur draft but he opted for college. As a freshman at Oklahoma State University, Oliver was 6-1 with a 5.52 ERA for the #23 team in NCAA Division I. He walked 26 in 44 innings. He spent the summer with the Wareham Gatemen of the prestigious Cape Cod League and did much better, going 1-1 with a 1.41 ERA and 54 whiffs in 45 innings. He was third in the league in ERA after Aaron Crow and Kyle Gibson. Baseball America ranked him as the circuit's #10 prospect.

Oliver was excellent as a sophomore, going 7-2 with a 2.20 ERA. He was 3rd int he Big 12 Conference in ERA (.024 behind leader Chance Ruffin) and made All-Conference. He joined Crow and Johnny Dorn as the Big 12's All-Conference starters. He was third in the Conference with 96 strikeouts, trailing Crow and Dorn, and held opponents to a .211 average. He was suspended by the NCAA that spring because they said he had advisers sit in on his 2006 negotiations with the Twins; Oliver filed a suit against the rule. Andy then was 2-0 with a 0.93 ERA for Team USA's college squad; one of his teammates was a fellow OSU hurler, Tyler Lyons. He tossed three shutout innings against the Netherlands Antilles/Aruba team in the 2008 Haarlem Baseball Week but allowed five baserunners and was replaced by A.J. Griffin. It was his lone appearance in the event. In the 2008 World University Championship, he got one start. He surrendered one hit and one unearned run in 5 1/3 innings in a start against Canada but walked five and was yanked; the US would win 4-3 in 11 innings with Mike Leake getting the decision. The US won Gold in the event.

Oliver struggled with the 2009 Oklahoma State team, going 5-6 with a 5.30 ERA despite 97 strikeouts in 88 1/3 IP.

[edit] Draft

He was taken by the Detroit Tigers in the second round of the 2009 amateur draft, 58th overall. He signed for a $1,495,000 bonus, the highest between picks #29 and #91. He was Detroit's second pick after Jacob Turner. The scout was Chris Wimmer.

[edit] Minors

Oliver made his pro debut in the Arizona Fall League, going 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 16 innings. Baseball America rated him as Detroit's #4 prospect. That fall, the NCAA offered him a $750,000 settlement to drop his lawsuit against them. He agreed to the settlement.

Assigned to the Erie SeaWolves, Oliver began his Organized Baseball career 6-4 with a 3.61 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 77 1/3 innings. He was named to the US roster for the 2010 Futures Game. A couple weeks before that contest, though, he was called up to the majors to replace Rick Porcello in the Tigers' rotation.

[edit] Majors

With Detroit in 2010, Oliver was far from the first rookie to debut with the club that year. He followed Scott Sizemore, Brennan Boesch, Austin Jackson, Danny Worth and Casper Wells, but he was the first rookie pitcher to debut with the outfit.

Andy got his first start on June 25 against Kris Medlen and the Atlanta Braves in an interleague match. He began the contest by giving up a Martin Prado single but retired fellow rookie Jason Heyward then got Chipper Jones to hit into a double play. He allowed a run in the second on a walk and two hits and surrendered a Yunel Escobar homer in the fourth. He was yanked for pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn after two runs in six in a fine debut, but took the loss as Medlen was even sharper. He took another loss in his second start, in spite of another creditable effort, giving up only 2 runs in 6 innings to the Minnesota Twins on June 30. He was 0-4, 7.36 for the Tigers that year and in 2011 went 0-1, 6.52 in 2 starts. On December 5, 2012, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in return for Ramon Cabrera but failed to make it back to the big leagues. On December 11, 2014, the Philadelphia Phillies took a flyer on him, taking him with the 14th and last pick of the 2014 Rule V Draft.

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