Prep Baseball Report

Q&A with Cincinnati Commit, RHP Isaac Olson (Chaminade, 2016)

Shon Plack
Missouri Scouting Director

Isaac Olson (Chaminade, 2016) has recently verbally committed to play college baseball at the University of Cincinnati.  Olson is a right-handed pitcher that stands 6-foot-6 197-pounds. He has an over-the-top release, throws with regular effort, and stays inline as he gets down the mound.  His mechanics are smooth and repeatable. At the Top Gun Pitchers Showcase in February, Olson displayed one of the best breaking pitches of the the event, a 12-to-6 curveball with sharp action.  He topped out at 86 mph at the event, but his arm action and build project well. 

Olson worked 22.2 innings for Chaminade this spring, fanning 28 batter with only 12 walks.  This summer he will playing with the St. Louis Games Blue 18U. Olson had a chance to give us some insight on the process that led him Cincinnati.  Here is what led up to his commitment.

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Olson: Well for someone like me who is not very comfortable reaching out to people I don’t know, it was pretty difficult.  Not everyone that you contact will respond every time so it is important that you stay persistent and never give up!

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Olson: Yes it did.  I have family around the Cincinnati area so that played a factor in my decision.  Also, my cousin, who I look up to, attended the University of Cincinnati.  It is far enough away from home that I can experience something new, but close enough to home so I can come back easily. 

PBR: Where did the college you chose first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Olson: The first time UC saw me was at their camp, which the coach invited me to after looking at some video I had sent.  After that, I was constantly in contact with Coach Neal and an assistant named Adam Bourassa.  Both coaches would check on me throughout the winter.  During the high school season, Coach Bourassa came out to one of my games versus CBC.  It was a game where I didn’t have my best stuff and had to battle.  They loved the way that I competed and I ended up getting an offer later that evening!

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

Olson: I have been blessed to play with and against some of the best players in the state, but a couple that come to mind specifically are Chris Cornelius and John Brinkman (both former teammates).  Chris is so smooth defensively and seemed to always be comfortable at the dish, especially when it was crunch time.  From 11 years old to now, I never wanted to face John Brinkman.  He is such a tough out and hits for a ton of power. 

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Olson: I am looking for a coaching staff that knows how to develop players and has high expectations for themselves and their team.  Coach Neal made it clear that UC is in the process of building something special. He has a vision and I like his approach, and knew from the first time he told me about it that I wanted to be a big part of it! 

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Olson: I would tell them to first get it done in the classroom.  Baseball is second to academics and you need to have the grades to go to college!  Also, do not be afraid to reach out to people.  Do not wait for them to find you because it might not happen.  My grade school (Patriots) baseball coach Keavin Blount always instilled in me that nobody is too good to hustle and to respect the game and your teammates.  That is some of the best advice I have ever gotten!  Lastly, develop good mechanics young.  I have had weekly lessons with Matt Whiteside since I was 10!

PBR: What do you do in the offseason to keep yourself in baseball shape and prepare for the upcoming season?

Olson: I am lucky to play on a nationally ranked high school basketball team and play with two of the top 50 players in the country.  Because of that, the winter is crazy for me.  I am constantly working on my basketball skills to make sure that I am in a position to help my team, but at the same time I work on pitching with the Gamers or at P3 almost every night even if I had basketball practice before (or sometimes even a game).

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Olson: Traveling and playing all over the country with different teammates creates a lot of opportunity for making friends and memories and I have so many good and funny ones!  It really has been a huge part of my life.  If I had to pick one, it would be trying for three summers straight to secure a bid to the Elite 32 in Orlando with the Patriots.  We were always just one win or one run short!  So, it was down to the last qualifier, a tournament in Iowa.  We were beyond determined to capitalize on this last chance opportunity and we did.  What an amazing feeling! 

PBR: What do you like most about Cincinnati and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Olson: What I liked best is the way Coach Neal runs the program.  Again, he made it clear that UC is going in the right direction and I truly believe that.  I know we will be a big name baseball school in the upcoming years.  UC plays in a competitive conference and has one of the toughest schedules in college baseball.   Not to mention that the baseball facilities and resources are incredible and the field is one of the coolest in the country.

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Olson: TCU, Miami of Ohio, SLU, and Ohio State

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Olson: I had been communicating with a lot of schools for a year or so.   Then I pitched in a couple of indoor showcases in February where my velo was up significantly and my offspeed was a lot better since the last time I was seen.  I got a couple of good write ups and more and more schools expressed interest in me. 

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals? Name some players that will play a key role for Chaminade in 2015.

Olson: Obviously, the goal at the beginning of the season is to win a state championship, and I believe we have some young talent that can help us achieve that goal.  Peter Zimmermann will carry a big offensive load and I like him catching and helping call the game for me.  Other guys like Bennett Hacala, Hunter Becker, and Drew Signorelli will help make us a very respectable team. 

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Olson: This summer and last, I have played with the STL Gamers 17u Blue team.  My best memory was  last year when we were playing the Orlando Scorpions at the East Cobb complex in Atlanta.  It was an elimination game and they thought they were going to roll over us.  Their starting shortstop was Brendan Rodgers (third overall pick in the draft) and they had probably 10 players that recently got drafted.  Ian Nelson hit a 3-run bomb in the second inning and we never looked back.  We beat the Orlando Scorpions!

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