- Full name Timothy Lane Olson
- Born 08/01/1978 in Grand Forks, ND
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 200 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Florida
- Debut 05/30/2004
- Drafted in the 7th round (219th overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2000.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Like Darin Erstad, Olson is a native of North Dakota who made his way south to fashion his career. He first attended Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, where he was clocked at 93 mph as a pitcher, and then went to Florida, where he was the outstanding player in a 2000 NCAA regional at Baylor. Olson is a gifted athlete with gap power. While tinkering with his stance in the Arizona Fall League, he still managed to hit .374 with eight doubles and six stolen bases in 31 games. He's an above-average runner who has the ability to steal 15 bases a year. He has a good arm at shortstop and a feel for the position. His athleticism also makes him one of the organization's best defenders at both third base and the outfield (his primary college position). Like a lot of young hitters, Olson needs to refine his plate discipline and make pitchers come to him. The Diamondbacks plan to keep Olson at shortstop unless he plays his way off the position. He'll start there in Triple-A this year.
The versatile Olson is one of the organization's most athletic players. Before transferring to Florida from Hutchinson (Kan.) CC, Olson touched 93 mph as a pitcher. With the Gators, he earned third-team All-America honors and put together a school-record 27-game hitting streak as a junior outfielder. Since signing as a seventh-rounder in 2000, he hasn't settled at one position. After splitting duties between the outfield and third base in his debut season, Olson opened the 2001 season in Lancaster at the hot corner and finished as El Paso's everyday shortstop. A native of North Dakota, he's still relatively inexperienced and learning the game, so his success is a testament to his natural ability. He is a hard-nosed shortstop in the Mark Belanger/Dick Schofield mold, with more offensive upside. Some scouts don't view Olson as a prototypical shortstop because he doesn't possesses exceptionally quick feet. However, he runs well underway and owns plus arm strength. He committed 44 errors last season, so he'll have to get more reliable. It took him most of the year to settle on an approach at the plate, and he still needs to be more selective, but he has some raw power in his stroke. Olson could challenge Alex Cintron for the Triple-A shortstop job this year, and his versatility could make him an interesting option for the Diamondbacks by 2003.
One of the Diamondbacks' weaknesses at the major league level is a lack of athleticism. They took steps to correct that last June, when they drafted the versatile Olson. He threw 92-93 mph when he pitched in junior college and played both shortstop and center field at the University of Florida. Arizona liked his arm and the way he got quick, accurate breaks in the outfield, and figured he had the tools to play third base. He worked out at the hot corner in instructional league and may open 2001 there. Offensively, he has some to work to do after struggling to make contact or hit for power in his pro debut. He did manage to steal 15 bases in 18 attempts. Olson will move up to Lancaster in his first full pro season.