Throughout the 2016-17 offseason, Fish Stripes is going over the top 100 all-time Marlins, ordered by cumulative Win Shares. The floor was set at 2.0 by Adam Conley. Today’s Marlins, Scott Olsen, earned a total of 2.6 while with the team.
Olsen was born on January 12th, 1984 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In time, he grew into a 6’4”, 200 lb. left-handed starting pitcher. The Marlins chose him in the sixth round of the 2002 amateur draft, 173rd overall and nine selections before the biggest eventual prize of that round, Pat Neshek.
After Olsen’s selection, he joined the Marlins’ Gulf Coast League rookie team, also named the Marlins, and went 2-3 with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.084 WHIP over 11 starts. He then spent a season each with the Greensboro Bats (single-A, South Atlantic League, 7-9, 2.81 ERA, 1.247 WHIP, 129 whiffs in 128.1 innings in 2003), the Jupiter Hammerheads (high-A, Florida State League, 7-6, 2.97 ERA, 1.320 WHIP, 158 strikeouts in 136.1 innings in 2004), and the Carolina Mudcats (double-A, Southern League, 6-4, 3.92 ERA, 1.270 WHIP, 94 K’s in 80.1 innings in 2005). Also in 2005, he made his major league debut, starting four times and getting one relief appearance midseason. He went 1-1 with a 3.98 ERA, a 1.525 WHIP, and 21 strikeouts in 20.1 innings.
2006 would see Olsen step into Florida’s rotation in the second week of the season, where he would remain for the next three seasons. He ended his first full season in a three-way tie for the team-lead in victories, going 12-10 with a 4.04 ERA (Dontrelle Willis and Josh Johnson also had 12 wins apiece). He was second on the team with 31 starts, and his 166 strikeouts led the Marlins. He earned a 1.301 WHIP and led Miami with 8.3 K’s per nine innings, over 180.2 innings in total, which was second on the team. He also contributed at the plate, hitting .190 with eight RBI, going 11-for-58 overall and eventually finishing ninth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. The Marlins went 16-15 in his starts and 62-69 when somebody else took the hill.
On June 10th, Olsen pitched seven innings of two-hit ball, striking out eight and earning a win against the San Diego Padres, 2-1. On August 29th, in a 9-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, he gave up three hits and a walk over eight innings. In his next start, on September 3rd, he gave up just one hit over seven scoreless innings, striking out as many and defeating the Milwaukee Brewers by a 10-3 final.
Olsen began the 2007 season as Miami’s number two starter in the rotation, eventually posting a 10-15 record with a 5.81 ERA over 33 starts. (Willis matched his 10-15 record and his team lead in wins). He racked up a 1.760 WHIP, striking out 133 in 176.2 innings. Despite these alarming figures, the Marlins backed Olsen up nicely, posting a 17-16 record in his starts versus a 54-76 mark otherwise.
On April 25th, Olsen struck out 10 Braves over eight innings, allowing three runs and getting a no-decision in a 4-3 win against Atlanta. On June 12th, in his best start of the season, he earned his fifth win of the campaign by going seven shutout innings against the Cleveland Indians, striking out six and giving up just three hits in a 3-0 victory. He pushed his record to 8-7 with a 10-2 win against the Cincinnati Reds on July 20th, striking out five and allowing four hits over seven strong innings.
The 2008 Marlins went 84-77 overall, including a 15-18 mark in Olsen’s starts and a 69-59 record otherwise. Olsen was second on the team in wins, going 8-11 with a 4.20 ERA and an improved 1.309 WHIP, along with 113 whiffs over a career-high 201.2 innings. For the third season in a row, he missed exactly zero starts in the rotation, and is 12th in Marlins’ history wtih 101 overall (his 31 victories place him 15th on the leaderboard).
On May 6th, Olsen came one out from a complete game, allowing a single and a double while striking out eight in a 3-0 win against the Milwaukee Brewers. August 3rd would see him allow just a single over six innings, with six strikeouts in an eventual 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies. On September 18th, he earned his final Florida victory by giving up just three hits and a run over seven innings, striking out seven Astros in an 8-1 drubbing of Houston.
During his Marlins’ career, Olsen was frequently in trouble for disciplinary reasons, with notable confrontations with teammates Randy Messenger and Miguel Cabrera in 2006, as well as opponents Chase Utley, Sergio Mitre, the Milwaukee Brewers fans, and the Aventura Police Department in 2007.
After the 2008 campaign, the Marlins traded Olsen with Josh Willingham to the Washington Nationals for PJ Dean, Emilio Bonifacio, and Jake Smolinski. Olsen started 26 games over the next two seasons with the Nats, racking up a 6-12 record, a 5.76 ERA, a 1.587 WHIP, and 95 K’s over 143.2 innings. After that, he spent time in the minor leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Chicago White Sox, and the Texas Rangers.