It’s early enough in the season that there are a many pitchers with a 0.00 ERA, including some excellent prospects. Dodgers righthander Mitchell White has two starts, nine innings, no runs allowed and only one hit. Astros righthander Franklin Perez has also allowed just one hit and no runs, but in his case in 9.1 innings.
Jon Duplantier, Akeem Bostick, Jordan Hicks and Andrew Moore have all reached double digits in innings pitched with perfect ERAs. But the minor league pitcher with the most innings without a earned run so far is Reds righthander Ryan Olson.
Olson threw seven scoreless innings in his 2017 debut. He allowed only two hits and struck out nine while walking no one. In his follow-up Friday, Olson threw the minors’ first complete game shutout of the season, needing only 91 pitches to shut out Great Lakes (Dodgers). He was arguably less effective than his first start, but still allowed just four hits and one walk while striking out three.
So far Olson is 2-0, 0.00 in 16 innings, with just six hits allowed, one walk and 12 strikeouts with a .122 opponent average. Olson did not pitch for the Reds last year because of a back injury, so he’s yet to allow a run as a pro.
Understandably, it somewhat seems as though Olson has come out of nowhere, but he actually has an impressive track record. He pitched for USA Baseball’s 18U team that won a gold medal at the 2012 IBAF 18U World Championships in South Korea.
The 22-year-old was a 13th-round pick of the Reds out of Division II Cal Poly Pomona in 2016. His 2016 college season was cut short because of the back injury, but he was 3-0, 1.93 before being shut down. The year before he was 12-0, 1.73 for the Broncos. You have to go back to the 2014 season—when Olson was a freshman at San Diego—to find his last loss (he was 0-3, 6.73 that season).
So how does he do it? Olson has been an efficient strike-thrower. He runs his fastball up to 90-93 mph and he spots his changeup, curveball and slider, but it’s his ability to sink and run his fastball that has baffled Midwest League hitters and allowed him to work deep in games.
On Friday he faced one batter over the minimum as he erased three of the five baserunners who reached with double play grounders and picked off a fourth baserunner.