Sep 7, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins pitcherLester Oliveros
(48) pitches in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
As the long, difficult Minnesota Twins’ season winds down in its final month, we’ll take a closer look at some of the new (and some not so new) faces added to the roster with our new Who’s That Guy? postings. Our next entry: Relief Pitcher Lester Oliveros.
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Who’s That Guy?
- Name – Lester Jesus (Blanco) Oliveros
- Age – 26
- Position – Relief Pitcher
- Career stats (23 games) – 24.2 IP, 0-1, 6.20 ERA, 16 SO, 14 BB
Experience – Signed as an amateur free agent by Detroit in 2005. Spent the first 5 years working through the Tigers’ minor league system, making his major league debut in 2011, pitching 9 games for Detroit. In August of that year, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins as one of the players to be named later with Cole Nelson in the Delmon Young trade. He appeared in 10 games for the Twins that year, posting a 4.05 ERA but did little to convince the coaching staff to keep him up at the major league level. He spent 2012 pitching for New Britain and Rochester, appearing in only 1 game for the Twins. He underwent Tommy John surgery after the 2012 season and pitched only 6 games in the Gulf Coast League in 2013, and things seemed bleak for the 25 year old.
What he’s done in 2014 – Oliveros had a stellar rebound campaign this season in the minors, going 3-1 with a 0.89 ERA in 26 games with Double-A New Britain and 1-2 with a 2.29 ERA in Rochester. He put himself squarely back in the mix for 2015 and he appears to be all the player he was before the surgery, if not better.
September expectations – Complete the comeback and lock down a major league roster spot for 2015. With his outstanding season this summer, Oliveros has a chance to show the organization and its fans that he deserves a full-time shot in the majors for the first time in his career. He has been used sparingly so far, making only three appearances in September. He got off to an inauspicious start, with his first two appearances resulting in getting only 2 outs, giving up 5 earned runs and taking his sole career decision (a loss) versus the White Sox on September 2nd. His latest pitching performance, however, was a better reflection of Oliveros’ skills and production, pitching a 1-2-3 eighth inning against Cleveland on September 11th, notching 2 strikeouts.
Looking forward to 2015 – With 5 relief pitchers on the current roster either in their final year of their contract or on year-to-year contract this season, Oliveros has a legitimate opportunity to work his way onto the Twins’ roster next summer. Should he falter or should the Twins bolster their bullpen via free agency this off-season, expect Oliveros to be on speed dial from Rochester in 2015.
Next player that will be spotlighted on Who’s That Guy? will be Michael Tonkin.
Until next time…