Olmsted Making the Most of Limited Time

Michael Olmsted missed nearly all of the 2008 season rehabbing from an arm injury, but looks to maximize his time in the season's final week. Olmsted, the Mets' 9th round pick in the 2007 draft, owns a deep repertoire that allows him to make crucial in-game adjustments, and it is that trait which he has worked so far from the GCL, to Kingsport to his start this week in Savannah.

For a pitcher as eager to get to work as Michael Olmsted, the amount of innings he has pitched in his first two seasons comes as a disappointment. The 6-foot-6, 245-pound right-hander accumulated just 35.2 innings pitched last season highlighted by his 1.93 ERA in six starts in Kingsport, but that was just the warm up to what he thought would be much more work this season.

The plan was set for Olmsted, 21, as he began the year in Extended Spring Training, but during his time in camp his arm flared up from deep biceps tendonitis and shoulder inflammation. The injuries shut him down for a month before a six-week throwing program that led to bullpen sessions. It was disappointing delay to say the least.

"The problem really popped up in Spring Training, but it could have started in college, or last season. It just took a while for it to really be on the surface and affect me," he said.

"They just had me shut down from throwing for over a month and then I had to do strengthening exercises and treatments. It was just a long process that took forever. I know I had to stay focused, but it was tough not getting out there."

When Olmsted finally did return to the mound, he kept things simple by establishing his two best pitches: his 91-94 MPH fastball and his slider. He does not like to mince pitches with batters as he attacks the zone, looking for strikeouts especially early in games.

"I'm going after guys with my fastball, both inside and outside, and once I get the hang of the fastball, I bring in my slider or curveball. What I'm really trying to do is just concentrate on my fastball and slider in the first three innings of games."

However, as he moves deeper into games, Olmsted is finding the opportunity to make adjustments that utilize the rest of this repertoire. He admits he looks for strikeouts early in the game, but when the pitch count rises, he can not rely on simply throwing gas.

"I've got a lot of strikeouts this year which have come mostly on fastballs and sliders early in the game, but in innings four through six I need to pitch to more contact. That's when I bring my changeup and other breaking ball to keep hitters off-balance more.

"Depending on who the team is, and how my arm feels, I've taken different approaches to teams. In my Savannah start, my arm felt great in the first three innings and all my pitches we working so I was throwing it by guys, but when the game went on my arm started to tire a bit, so I went after groundballs," he explained.

"It's really an in-game process what my arm feels like which can make my approach change even in game."

The most significant aspect to his effectiveness and consistency was the work he completed with pitching coordinator Randy Niemman during his rehab program. Specifically, the pair went to work on making Olmsted's leg kick a lot more fluid. To set an example, Niemman compared Olmsted's delivery to that of Mike Pelfrey's and it was a comparison the right-hander was drawn to.

"Coach [Niemman] sat down with me and we checked out video of my bullpens in Florida and my outings in the Gulf Coast League. He showed me changes I needed to make with my leg kick. He showed me how it was similar to Pelfrey because we have were pretty much identical mechanics."

"Like Pelfrey, when I started swinging my leg out my pitchers inconsistent and flat but Since then that video session, I've been picking my leg straight up and my release point, my arm motion, everything has been more consistent."

Now that his delivery is in order and his arm is healthy, Olmsted simply wants innings. With just 64 career innings under his belt entering Friday, he looks forward to his invitation to the fall Instructional League and the possibly of playing winter ball somewhere.

"I just want to end the season on a good note and keep things going at Instructs next month," he said. "Winter ball is still a bit up in the air, but I've only thrown 30 innings this year so I'd definitely like to get some more in before the year is over."


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nFor a pitcher as eager to get to work as Michael Olmsted, the amount of innings he has pitched in his first two seasons comes as a disappointment. The 6-foot-6, 245-pound right-hander accumulated just 35.2 innings pitched last season highlighted by his 1.93 ERA in six starts in Kingsport, but that was just the warm up to what he thought would be much more work this season.
\r\n
\r\nThe plan was set for Olmsted, 21, as he began the year in Extended Spring Training, but during his time in camp his arm flared up from deep biceps tendonitis and shoulder inflammation. The injuries shut him down for a month before a six-week throwing program that led to bullpen sessions. It was disappointing delay to say the least.
\r\n
\r\n\"The problem really popped up in Spring Training, but it could have started in college, or last season. It just took a while for it to really be on the surface and affect me,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\n\"They just had me shut down from throwing for over a month and then I had to do strengthening exercises and treatments. It was just a long process that took forever. I know I had to stay focused, but it was tough not getting out there.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhen Olmsted finally did return to the mound, he kept things simple by establishing his two best pitches: his 91-94 MPH fastball and his slider. He does not like to mince pitches with batters as he attacks the zone, looking for strikeouts especially early in games.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm going after guys with my fastball, both inside and outside, and once I get the hang of the fastball, I bring in my slider or curveball. What I'm really trying to do is just concentrate on my fastball and slider in the first three innings of games.\"
\r\n
\r\nHowever, as he moves deeper into games, Olmsted is finding the opportunity to make adjustments that utilize the rest of this repertoire. He admits he looks for strikeouts early in the game, but when the pitch count rises, he can not rely on simply throwing gas.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've got a lot of strikeouts this year which have come mostly on fastballs and sliders early in the game, but in innings four through six I need to pitch to more contact. That's when I bring my changeup and other breaking ball to keep hitters off-balance more.
\r\n
\r\n\"Depending on who the team is, and how my arm feels, I've taken different approaches to teams. In my Savannah start, my arm felt great in the first three innings and all my pitches we working so I was throwing it by guys, but when the game went on my arm started to tire a bit, so I went after groundballs,\" he explained.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's really an in-game process what my arm feels like which can make my approach change even in game.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe most significant aspect to his effectiveness and consistency was the work he completed with pitching coordinator Randy Niemman during his rehab program. Specifically, the pair went to work on making Olmsted's leg kick a lot more fluid. To set an example, Niemman compared Olmsted's delivery to that of Mike Pelfrey's and it was a comparison the right-hander was drawn to.
\r\n
\r\n\"Coach [Niemman] sat down with me and we checked out video of my bullpens in Florida and my outings in the Gulf Coast League. He showed me changes I needed to make with my leg kick. He showed me how it was similar to Pelfrey because we have were pretty much identical mechanics.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"Like Pelfrey, when I started swinging my leg out my pitchers inconsistent and flat but Since then that video session, I've been picking my leg straight up and my release point, my arm motion, everything has been more consistent.\"
\r\n
\r\nNow that his delivery is in order and his arm is healthy, Olmsted simply wants innings. With just 64 career innings under his belt entering Friday, he looks forward to his invitation to the fall Instructional League and the possibly of playing winter ball somewhere.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just want to end the season on a good note and keep things going at Instructs next month,\" he said. \"Winter ball is still a bit up in the air, but I've only thrown 30 innings this year so I'd definitely like to get some more in before the year is over.\"
\r\n
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