Garrett Andrew Olson
- Bats Right, Throws Left
- Height 6' 1", Weight 200 lb.
- School Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo
- High School Buchanan High School (Clovis, CA)
- Debut July 4, 2007
Pitcher Garrett Olson made his major league debut in 2007, two years after being a first-round draft choice.
Olson was 5-3 with a 4.37 ERA as a freshman in college in 2003; he was no match for the top freshmen in the Big West Conference, Jered Weaver (14-4, 1.96) and Abe Alvarez (11-2, 2.35). In his sophomore year of 2004, the southpaw fell to 7-5, 5.57. He fared better with the Anchorage Bucs, winning all 7 games he pitched and allowing 8 walks while fanning 53 and allowing 34 hits in 51 innings. His 0.88 ERA was over a point better than the runner-up as he claimed the Alaska Baseball League ERA title. He was an All-Star selection and was rated the loop's top prospect by Baseball America. That publication also named him to their Summer League All-America Team.
Olson improved to 12-4, 2.71 as a junior and struck out 128 in 136 innings, finishing second in the Big West to Ricardo Romero. He made the All-Conference team. The Baltimore Orioles took him with the 48th pick in the first round of the 2005 amateur draft, a supplemental choice for Baltimore's not signing 2004 first-rounder Wade Townsend. Olson was signed by scout Gil Kubski for a $650,000 bonus.
He made his pro debut that summer with the Aberdeen IronBirds, going 2-1 with a 1.58 ERA in 11 games before making 3 starts for the Frederick Keys. Had he qualified, he would have led the New York-Penn League in ERA. Baseball America rated him the 8th-best prospect in the league, behind Jed Lowrie and ahead of Jake McGee.
He returned to Frederick to begin the 2006 season and went 4-4 with a 2.77 ERA in 14 starts there. He then was promoted to the Bowie Baysox, where he made 14 starts and went 6-5 with a 3.42 ERA. Olson led Orioles farmhands in innings (166) and strikeouts (162). He was named the team's Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America. Baseball America rated him the #15 prospect in the Carolina League, #20 in the Eastern League, one spot behind Radhames Liz and #6 in the Orioles chain.
He began 2007 with a 7-6, 3.46 record for the Norfolk Tides, allowing only a .211 average. Olson was supposed to play in the 2007 Futures Game but a call-up right before the game left him off the US roster. He replaced the injured Steve Trachsel on the roster.
Olson walked Andy Gonzalez, the first batter he faced in the majors, before retiring Tadahito Iguchi. He allowed two runs in 4 1/3 IP in the start, plagued by control problems as he walked five. After a 3.86 ERA in two games, he returned to the Tides. He promptly walked only 3 and fanned 23 in his first 21 innings back with Norfolk, going 2-0 and bringing his ERA under 3 while he took over the International League strikeout lead. Olson had a 1-3, 7.79 record overall for the 2007 Orioles and 9-7, 3.16 for Norfolk. He finished second in the IL in ERA, behind only Kevin Slowey and his 120 strikeouts were 25 behind leader J.P. Howell. Olson allowed a .208 average, lowest in the league. Baseball America rated him as the league's #12 prospect, between Adam Miller and Brandon Moss.
For the 2008 Tides, Olson was 1-2 with a 2.97 ERA and over a strikeout per inning. He spent most of the year in the majors and went 9-10 but with a woeful 6.65 ERA for the 2008 Orioles. He was then traded with Henry Williamson for another failing prospect, Félix Pie.