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  1. Get To Know: Catcher 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.



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    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.

    • Dec 06 2015 02:28 PM
    • by Seth Stohs
  2. Twins Minor League Report (5/4): Chattanooga Comebacks

    Keep reading to find out more on the night in the Twins minor league system on Friday. And as always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions.

    APRIL AWARDS

    In case you missed any of the Twins Daily Minor League Awards for April, here they are:

    TRANSACTIONS
    • RHP Zack Littell was promoted from Chattanooga to Rochester and will start on Saturday.
    • LHP Anthony Marzi was promoted from Ft. Myers to Chattanooga.
    • RHP Nick Brown came off of the disabled list for Cedar Rapids.
    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester 3, Lehigh Valley 11
    Box Score

    While the folks in Rochester were excited for the return of Trevor Plouffe to Frontier Field, it was another former Red Wings player who really hurt the Twins in this game. The Twins fell behind 6-0 after two innings in large part due to the power of outfielder Danny Ortiz. The Twins fourth-round pick in 2008, who made his major-league debut in 2017 with the Pirates, joined the Phillies organization this offseason. He hit two-run homers in his first two at-bats of this game and now has eight already on the season for the IronPigs. Ortiz had spent the second half of 2014 and all of 2105 with the Red Wings and hit 25 homers for the team.

    DJ Baxendale made the start for the Red Wings. He was charged with six runs on six hits and a walk in just 1 2/3 innings. Tyler Duffey came on and gave up four runs (3 earned) on three hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings. Luke Bard came on for his Red Wings return. He faced six batters and got them all out, two on strikeouts. Mason Melotakis gave up three runs on two hits and two walks over the next two innings. He struck out three. Casey Crosby struck out two in a perfect ninth frame.

    The Red Wings had seven hits and six walks but were able to score just three runs. Jake Cave went 2-for-4 with a walk. Wynston Sawyer was 1-for-3 with a walk and a double.


    CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
    Chattanooga 4, Mobile 2
    Box Score

    The Lookouts offense did pretty much nothing through the first eight innings in their game tonight, but a four-run rally in the ninth frame gave them another big win. And, Tanner English got to play hero again.

    Zack Littell was scheduled to pitch for the Lookouts, but he was promoted to Rochester. So Omar Bencomo stepped in. The right-handed veteran threw five innings. He gave up two runs on six hits. He struck out two. Anthony McIver struck out two over the next two innings of scoreless relief. He gave up two hits and a walk. Sam Clay gave up a hit and walked two, but he struck out four over two scoreless innings.

    Brian Olson recorded his first hit of the season, and his second, and his third. While one was a double, his third hit got things going in the ninth inning. His single scored Chris Paul to put the Lookouts on the board. It was followed by a two-run triple by Tanner English who then scored on a LaMonte Wade single.



    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Ft. Myers 8, Jupiter 3
    Box Score

    The Miracle got out to an early lead, kept adding on and got some good pitching to go with it.
    Andro Cutura made the start. In six innings, he gave up two runs on five hits. He struck out four batters without issuing a walk. Lefty Kevin Marnon came on and gave up just one hit over two scoreless innings. He struck out two. Hector Lujan worked the ninth inning. He gave up one run on a hit and three walks. He struck out two.

    The first four batters of the Miracle lineup really had a big night. Leadoff man Mark Contreras went 2-4 with a walk. He scored three runs and drove in two. He also stole his third base. Joe Cronin batted second. He went 1-3 with a walk and his second home run. Next up was Luis Arraez. He went 1-2 with two walks. Lewin Diaz was 2-4 with his third home run.


    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 1, West Michigan 4
    Box Score

    While it wasn’t hyped as much (here or on Twitter) as his Kernels debut last weekend, Brusdar Graterol was quite impressive again. This time out, the burly right-hander from Venezuela threw five shutout innings. He gave up just three hits. He struck out four without issuing a walk. The Kernels announcers pointed out that he reached 100 mph on several of his pitches. He threw 73 pitches and 46 of them were strikes. And he plays defense too.



    Rickey Ramirez came on and gave up two runs on three hits over the next two innings. Moises Gomez worked the final two innings. He gave up two runs on three hits and two walks. He struck out two.

    The Kernels didn’t get much offense. In fact, they had just three hits in the game. Their run came in the first inning when Akil Baddoo scored from first base on an Alex Kirilloff opposite-field double off the wall. It was Kirilloff’s eighth double and gives him an organization-leading 23 RBI. Royce Lewis went 1-for-3 (to drop his average to .353) with a walk. He stole his seventh and eighth bases.

    The Twins photographer (Brace Hemmelgarn) was in Cedar Rapids and posted this photo blog.

    STARS OF THE DAY
    Twins Daily Hitter of the Day: Brian Olson, Chattanooga Lookouts (3-4, 2B, RBI)
    Twins Daily Pitcher of the Day: Brusdar Graterol, Cedar Rapids Kernels (5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K)


    TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY
    Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:

    #1 - Royce Lewis (Cedar Rapids) - 1-3, BB, 2 SB(8)
    #3 - Nick Gordon (Chattanooga) - 0-4, BB, K
    #5 - Alex Kirilloff (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, 2B(8), 2 RBI, 2 K
    #9 - Brusdar Graterol (Cedar Rapids) - 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (73 pitches, 46 strikes)
    #10 - Akil Baddoo (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, BB, K, R
    #13 - Lewin Diaz (Ft. Myers) - 2-4, HR(3), 2 RBI, R
    #14 - LaMonte Wade (Chattanooga) - 1-5, RBI, K, SB(3)
    #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, K
    #17 - Travis Blankenhorn (Ft. Myers) - 0-4, K


    SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Lehigh Valley @ Rochester (12:05 CST) - RHP Zack Littell (AAA debut)
    Chattanooga @ Mobile (7:05 CST) - RHP Randy LeBlanc (3-1, 2.22 ERA)
    Jupiter @ Ft. Myers (5:00 CST) - RHP Brady Anderson (0-2, 6.75 ERA)
    West Michigan @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - RHP Blayne Enlow (0-1, 5.00 ERA)


    Please feel free to ask any questions about Friday’s full schedule of games, or ask any questions you may have.

    • May 05 2018 10:12 AM
    • by Seth Stohs