Top 10 players for 2011 - No. 9: Adam Olbrychowski
No. 9 - Adam Olbrychowski
Bio: A hard-throwing right-hander out of Pepperdine University, the Yankees took Olbrychowski in the fifth round of the 2007 draft. That round also included Orioles starter Jake Arrieta, Athletics prospect Michael Taylor, Blue Jays starter Marc Rzepczynski, Steelers quarterback Dennis Dixon and Angels shortstop Andrew Romine, whose brother, Austin, may be familiar to Yankees fans.
In 2007 and 2008, Olbrychowski worked as a starter. He accumulated a 10-13 record with 123 strikeouts against 74 walks in 156 2/3 innings. After the conversion to the bullpen, the control problems still remained. He walked 40 in 58 innings but still managed to earn a very late promotion to Double-A, after the Thunder were eliminated from the Eastern League playoff race.
2010 season: Because of the control issues and a bit of a reliever logjam (which also kept Josh Schmidt at Double-A for most of the year), Olbrychowski did a near full repeat of High-A Tampa this season. He cut down on the walks (27 in 59 innings), and brought his high-octane gas to Trenton for last part of the year and the playoffs. In fact, he threw the final pitch of Division Series against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (see video above).
What's Next: One imagines Olbrychowski will finally make the full-time leap to Double-A for the 2011 season. Because he is a hard-thrower, it's easy to see him in the mix with Tim Norton and (maybe) Grant Duff for the closer's role next season. Being a former fifth-rounder whom the Yankees paid $123,000, they're not going to give up on him quickly.