Oliver’s Twist

Andy Oliver

What a strange trip for Andrew Oliver.

At Oklahoma State, the lefty was considered to be one of the top pitchers in college baseball. And he was when he took the mound.

Here’s where the story takes a little twist. Late in the 2008 season, Oliver was suspended because of a NCAA ruling that was, to say the least, complicated.

To make a long story short, he was ruled ineligible for using legal advisers to negotiate with the Minnesota Twins after being drafted out of high school.

Oliver’s suspension came just before the top-seeded Cowboys played in an NCAA tournament regional game and may have cost OSU a shot at the College World Series.

He filed a counter-lawsuit, trying to maintain his playing status. A ruling in an Ohio court stipulated that the NCAA reinstate Oliver for the rest of the 2009 season. In his return, Oliver struck out 11 and allowed only two hits and one earned run in OSU’s win over BYU. He finished the season at 5-6 with a 5.30 ERA.

In 2008, Oliver played on the USA National Baseball Team. He was dominant for the Cowboys, going 7-2 with a 2.20 ERA.

The Detroit Tigers selected Oliver in the 2nd round of the 2009 MLB draft. Scouts love his mid-90 mph fastball and command of pitches. His slingshot-type delivery adds some deception, which is a bonus when you have stuff like he does.

With the NCAA battle finally behind him, Oliver can concentrate solely on baseball. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pitching at the major league level by 2011. He will be a great addition to a Tigers staff loaded with potential.

So whatever you do, avoid ruling Oliver out. He has a way of coming right back.

Written by C. James


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