Red Sox may have struck gold with reliever Edgar Olmos

Feb 22, 2017; Ft. Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Edgar Olmos (71) works out as it rains during spring training at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 22, 2017; Ft. Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Edgar Olmos (71) works out as it rains during spring training at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Red Sox may have found an answer to who will be their other lefty reliever in 2017. Edgar Olmos is having a ton of success this spring-with a curveball.

With the focus on the acquisitions of Chris Sale and Tyler Thornburgh, the weight of Pablo Sandoval, the sore elbow of David Price and even the hair of Hanley Ramirez, some Red Sox storylines are bound to fly under the radar at Spring Training. One of those stories that has recently come to light over the last week or so has been the emergence of reliever Edgar Olmos.

Boston signed Olmos to a minor league deal over the offseason, and he is not yet on the 40-man roster, however he has been making an impression.

In fact, as Christopher Smith noted in his column on MassLive.com, John Farrell told the media that Olmos is most definitely competing for a role on the big league squad. If Olmos does earn a spot in Boston, that would most likely mean that Robby Scott and Fernando Abad would be on their way out – that would probably be the best case scenario in my opinion.

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Olmos was drafted by the Marlins in 2008, but bounced around between the Mariners, Cubs and Orioles a few times before having a solid “comeback season” of sorts in Triple-A Norfolk (Orioles) last year. That led to the Sox asking him to come to Fort Myers this spring, and he’s been leaving a mark. In 7.2 total innings, Olmos has a 1.17 ERA with 11 strikeouts and just 2 walks. Not too shabby at all!

So what led to a 26 year old journeyman appearing to have finally figured it out? According to the Providence Journal’s Brian MacPherson, it was the conscious decision by Olmos to start to rely on his curveball rather than the fastball/slider/change-up repertoire he used when he was attempting to be a starting pitcher at the beginning of his career. MacPherson compares him to Rich Hill and Barry Zito in relation to curveball style. MacPherson goes on to quote Olmos:

"“That’s my bread and butter. I’ll throw it the majority of the time. I’ll throw it in any count. I’ll throw it whenever. If I need a strike, I’ll throw it. Last year was the first year where I accepted that that needs to be me. Instead of being a flamethrower like I used to be, I accepted the fact that I needed to be able to use my curveball the way I do.”"

I like that for a couple reasons. First, it shows maturity and that Olmos clearly has a good head on his shoulders. It can be very difficult for pitchers to come to grips that their style may have to change in order to find success. Also, Boston could use a pitcher with a different style who brings a whole different look to throw at the opposition. With Craig Kimbrel, Thornburg, Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly, the theme is clearly fastball, power pitching. Olmos adds a whole other flavor with him being both a left-hander who throws a nasty curve.

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Olmos hit a snag this week with some hamstring issues, but hopefully he’s able to overcome that and make his way to Boston with only a couple weeks left of spring training. It’s an interesting story to keep an eye on. I’m pulling for him – one, because I love a great curveball, and two, because I can’t stand any more heart attack relief appearance from Abad this season!