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Get To Know: Catcher Brian Olson

Today, we are happy to provide another Q&A with another Minnesota Twins minor leaguer and member of the 2015 draft class. Brian Olson was the Twins 34th round pick in June out of Seattle University. The catcher signed quickly and the Twins had him start in the GCL. In 17 games, he hit .273/.414/.327 (.742) with more walks than strikeouts. He was promoted to Elizabethton where he finished by hitting .333/.414/.510 (.924) with three doubles and two homers in 15 games.
Image courtesy of Jon Tarr (photo of Brian Olson)
Since the offseason began, he got married and is now looking forward to his first full season in 2016. Before we get to the Q&A, I had the chance to talk to his college coach at Seattle University, Donny Harrel. He shared some thoughts about Brian Olson.

“Brian was a two-time MVP here. Then his junior year, a pro scout told him he needed to hit with more power. That took away from what type of hitter Brian truly is, at this point, a very solid gap-to-gap hitter who uses all fields. I believe he will continue to hit and power comes with pitch recognition and a ton of at bats. There will be a time you will see the power numbers go up as well.”

Harrel continued, “Brian had a tremendous work ethic. He always hustled and never let failure bring him down. His arm defensively drew a lot of pro attention because of its strength and his quick release.”

There is a little background on the backstop. Enjoy the following Q&A, getting to know Twins minor league catcher Brian Olson.

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Seth Stohs: Growing up in Washington, can I make an assumption on who your favorite team was to follow? Who were some of your favorite players?


Brian Olson: I enjoyed watching the Mariners. My favorite players growing up were Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Cameron.



Seth Stohs: It sounds like you played on some really good high school teams. What are some of your best memories, baseball or other activities?


Brian Olson: My best baseball memory from high school was playing at Safeco Field for the State playoffs. My best personal moment was hitting a walk-off home run on the last game at our home field my senior season.



Seth Stohs: You stayed near home and went to Seattle University where you played for four years. What were your best moments on the baseball team, individual or team-wise?


Brian Olson: My best team moment from Seattle University baseball was playing in the WAC tournament twice. My best personal moment was hitting a walk-off home run against Utah Valley during my senior season.



Seth Stohs: What was your interaction with scouts before the draft? Did you think you might be drafted?


Brian Olson: I had high hopes for getting drafted and was talking to quite a few teams.



Seth Stohs: The Twins took you in the 34th round. How did you find out you had been drafted?


Brian Olson: I was actually hanging out with a friend watching the draft on the computer, and when my name popped up on the screen I missed it because I was busy talking to him. My scout called me and told me to check the computer. It was very exciting.



Seth Stohs: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make, going from amateur/college season to the pro game, on or off the field?


Brian Olson: The biggest adjustment was handling the pitching staff because many of them don't speak English very well.



Seth Stohs: In these very early stages of your career, what would you say are your biggest strengths as a player?


Brian Olson: I would say my biggest strength is being able to control my emotions when I have bad games and separate my offense from defense.



Seth Stohs: What are the things that you feel you need to improve over the offseason and going forward?


Brian Olson: I definitely need to get bigger, stronger, and faster. Those are my main priorities currently.



Seth Stohs: What are your plans for the offseason? When do you start preparing for the 2016 season, but also what do you enjoy doing away from the game of baseball?


Brian Olson: This offseason I got married and continue to train every day. I really enjoy spending time with my twin brother Kevin.



Seth Stohs: Who are some of the coaches and others who have helped you get to this point in your career?


Brian Olson: My Dad has been the biggest influence and support in getting me to where I am today. I have a hitting coach and mentor named Brett Jaime who has been a huge part of my career for years. My coaches at Seattle University were awesome and poured a lot into me as well. Most importantly, all the glory goes to God.



Seth Stohs: Favorite Baseball Movie?


Brian Olson: I love the movie Angels in the Outfield.



---------------------------------------


A big Thank You to Brian Olson for taking time to respond to our questions. Please feel free to ask questions in the Comments below.


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17 Comments

Most importantly, all the glory goes to God.

 

Well grounded young man.

 

 

    • Seth Stohs likes this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Dec 07 2015 12:29 AM
I like this guy too.

ETA Sept 2018 :)
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Bob Sacamento
Dec 07 2015 01:24 PM

While in GCL, Olsen had a much further developed plate approach then the rest of the catchers on the team thus why he didn't stay here too long.What I was most impressed about was his defensive game; showing off good gamecalling framing, along with good pop times behind the plate.Even if there was a language barrier with some of the pitchers, Olsen didn't show it.As a 34th rounder, can't complain too much; his big test will be his first pro season in 2016. 

    • Seth Stohs and twinssouth like this
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clutterheart
Dec 08 2015 09:05 AM

 

Most importantly, all the glory goes to God.

 

Well grounded young man.

 

1st - That does not make him well grounded.  I am sure lots of insane talk this way and say similar things.

2nd- Do they coach players to say this kind of nonsense?  Virtually every prospect interview they say something similar.  

 

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Bob Sacamento
Dec 08 2015 09:27 AM

 

1st - That does not make him well grounded.  I am sure lots of insane talk this way and say similar things.

2nd- Do they coach players to say this kind of nonsense?  Virtually every prospect interview they say something similar.  

 You don't get too many players (especially newly drafted ones) saying something controversial, goal at this stage is stay out of the press.

That shouldn't be controversial, and it's part of who he is and what he believes. We want people to say things and show who they are beyond baseball and then then get criticized for doing so. 

 

Whether or not that makes him grounded? I don't know, but I'm good with people discussing their faith. Good for him!

 

And no, they don't get coached to speak about such things. 

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Bob Sacamento
Dec 08 2015 10:38 AM

 

That shouldn't be controversial, and it's part of who he is and what he believes. We want people to say things and show who they are beyond baseball and then then get criticized for doing so. 

 

Whether or not that makes him grounded? I don't know, but I'm good with people discussing their faith. Good for him!

 

And no, they don't get coached to speak about such things. 

I've got no problem with him talking about God and don't consider it controversial. I'd consider him saying he worshipped Satan controversial or he thought the coaches sucked lol.  Baseball is steeped with religion past and present, if a player feels it helps him - more power to him.

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Hosken Bombo Disco
Dec 08 2015 02:44 PM

 

1st - That does not make him well grounded.   

Maybe not, but look at the whole. He has a close family and network of support. Looks like he had a great college ball experience. And he says he "trains" every day. I love that word. There's a much different mindset behind that word, as opposed to "offseason workouts." Best of all, he is producing. 

Remember the last time the Twins had a catcher named Brian?!?!He was pretty good and the Twins won the World Series!

 

Good interview, Seth.Was he old for Elizabethton or is he about average age?Either way it's nice to see catcher in the org that may develop into a decent hitter.Hopefully he can continue to develop as he progresses through the system.

 

Remember the last time the Twins had a catcher named Brian?!?!He was pretty good and the Twins won the World Series!

 

Good interview, Seth.Was he old for Elizabethton or is he about average age?Either way it's nice to see catcher in the org that may develop into a decent hitter.Hopefully he can continue to develop as he progresses through the system.

 

If you ask some, a guy who spent three years in college is "too young for the Appy League." Olson went to school for four years. So yes, he's a year or so over the average age of the player.

 

But, I always think spending your first pro season (after being drafted) in the rookie leagues is important. They're learning a lot more than baseball during those two months.

    • Loosey likes this
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Bob Sacamento
Dec 21 2015 11:38 AM

Video of Brian Olsen at the plate in GCL:

 

https://youtu.be/4sHUApOBSgg

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nicksaviking
Dec 21 2015 12:20 PM

 

1st - That does not make him well grounded.  I am sure lots of insane talk this way and say similar things.

2nd- Do they coach players to say this kind of nonsense?  Virtually every prospect interview they say something similar.  

 

I really feel that watching the documentary Bull Durham may be beneficial here, at least this part:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=KeVca9MwDX8

 

His favorite players are Ken Griffey Jr and Mike Cameron? It seems a little funny as they were traded for each other.

 

I like the BB/K numbers. The real test for those figures will be full season ball, though probably at least a level higher than the Midwest League. Promising start though and if he can limit the strikeouts while finding ways to get on base, he'd certainly be a revelation for the Twins.

 

Edit: I removed the video and only copied the link as I can't recall if there are any naughty words uttered in that scene, I'd listen myself but I don't have my headphones at work.

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nicksaviking
Dec 21 2015 12:25 PM

 

If you ask some, a guy who spent three years in college is "too young for the Appy League." Olson went to school for four years. So yes, he's a year or so over the average age of the player.

 

But, I always think spending your first pro season (after being drafted) in the rookie leagues is important. They're learning a lot more than baseball during those two months.

 

I'd also guess that catcher is a unique position in that every level wants experienced catchers handling the developmental pitchers. He could be down there not because he needs to be held back but simply because he's good at calling games and a 19-year-old catcher may not be.

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Bob Sacamento
Dec 21 2015 01:35 PM

 

I'd also guess that catcher is a unique position in that every level wants experienced catchers handling the developmental pitchers. He could be down there not because he needs to be held back but simply because he's good at calling games and a 19-year-old catcher may not be.

Yeah no question that it was night and day difference when Olsen caught compared to HS kid like Kerby Camacho; the pitchers seemed more confident in their ability ie to spin off a breaking ball in the dirt etc.

 

I'd also guess that catcher is a unique position in that every level wants experienced catchers handling the developmental pitchers. He could be down there not because he needs to be held back but simply because he's good at calling games and a 19-year-old catcher may not be.

 

There's some of that, but at the same time, Cedar Rapids had Brian Navarreto and Brett Doe. Olson was in his pro debut... as a late round pick. They started him low and let him work his way up.

Given everyone else in the system, he had to start someplace. The key is what happens in the next couple years, imo. I think one of my kids almost applied to Seattle University, but it didn't make the final cut......

 

Good luck to him, and thanks for doing the interview.

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Don't Feed the Greed Guy
Apr 09 2017 07:23 AM

 

Most importantly, all the glory goes to God.

 

Well grounded young man.

I looked up this article after visiting with Brian at Spring Training a few weeks ago. My 11 yr old son was attracted to "Olson" on the back of Brian's jersey. He brought a ball with him to the minor league fields.

 

Our boy asked Brian to sign, and I mentioned over his shoulder, "He's an Olson too."

 

That brought out even more character in Brian. He asked our boy if he plays baseball too. What position? Favorite player?

 

I don't know much about character from eavesdropping on a two-minute conversation with a ballplayer at the back end of a dugout. But what I saw was class.

 

Brian signed the ball for my boy, and in small letters wrote John 3:16 below his signature. The ball went into my boy's backpack, and didn't come out the rest of the day. That's the only signature he wanted on his ball.


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