Washington Nationals LHP Scott Olsen is a familiar foe, as the 26-year old faced the Mets 13 times as a Florida Marlin, and once as a National last year. The Mets are 10-4 in those 14 starts, but he did help end the Mets 2008 season by pitching a good game to close out Shea Stadium, a game Mets fans remember all too well.
He is in his 6th major league season, and the 2nd season with the Washington Nationals. His season ended prematurely last year, as he underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder last July. The talent has always been there, as he was the 6th pick out of high school in 2002. He’s a tall lefty (6’4”) who works quickly and delivers from a high 3/4s arm slot. He throws in the low-90s and his out pitch is his filthy slider. He compliments the fastball, slider combo with an average change-up, which is only 6 mph slower than his average fastball (89 vs 83 mph). He has had problems with repeating his delivery in the past, as well as some difficulty interacting with others, including teammates, coaches, law enforcement etc. He’s a fly-ball pitcher who has allowed too many home runs over his career 1.34 HR/9. His career ERA is 4.71 with a 1.47 WHIP. His strikeout and walk rates are right around league average.
This year he has seen a small increase in his k/9 (8.36) and a decrease in walks (2.89), which has resulted in a 3.54 ERA and a WHIP of 1.21 thus far. He is still regaining his velocity from the shoulder surgery, but he is throwing harder than he has in the past two years. His pitch selection this year has changed significantly from the previous years, as he has de-emphasized his fastball, only throwing it 48% of his pitches (down from 70% in 2007), and increasing his slider use to 28.5% and his change-up to 23%. He also appears to be throwing more 2-seamers this year, and it has resulted in a slight increase in his ground-ball rate (43% vs 36% last year). After a two inning outing versus the Rockies (7 hits, 6 earned runs) on April 20th, Olsen threw 20+ consecutive scoreless innings, and took a no-hitter into the 8th inning in his last start versus Atlanta, before allowing two runs (one earned). He has not thrown 100 pitches in any of his five starts this year.