Braden Olthoff, RHP, LAA

Braden Olthoff pitched so well at High-A he was already bumped up to Double-A. Uh, about that start…

Video courtesy of Prospects Worldwide
  • Born: March 12, 1999
  • B/T: Right/Right
  • 6’4″, 241-lbs
  • Drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 2021 MLB June Amateur Draft from Tulane University

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

Olthoff had a brief introduction to pro ball after he was drafted in June of 2021. He wiped out Rookie ball, as he should. Then then went to A-ball for 8 innings, and they hit him around a bit.

In 2022, now at High-A, he made seven starts, maintained his good strikeout rate, kept the hits down, saw his xFIP and WHIP move into Excellent territory, and yes, kept that walk rate at 5%. Basically Olthoff counts every 20 batters or so and says, “OK, you can go to first base.”

Note that I did not put down his first Double-A start as a Trash Panda. He pitched into the 2nd inning, faced a total of 10 batters, gave up only one hit . . . but walked three, hit three batters, and gave up 4 ERs. Welp, that happens.

Ignoring the tiny Double-A sample, we see Olthoff faced slightly more lefties than righties in High-A, and the results were basically identical, with a few more hits to lefties.

Have you watched the video above? You really should to understand this next comment from FanGraphs:

Ninth round Tulane righty Olthoff’s slider makes hitters look ridiculous. He had a 10-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio throughout his college career, but he’s a 30 athlete with a really weird delivery. That’s also a big part of why he’s so hard for hitters to pick up, though, so perhaps we should be looking at it as a feature rather than a bug.


A really weird delivery? Yes, it’s noticeable above. And when scouts see something weird, they shy away, but perhaps, as said above, they should embrace the weirdness. I mean, if it makes batters uncomfortable, that’s a good thing.

The Scouts


Scouts don’t rank him, and some think his motion is weird.

That first Double-A start was, uh, interesting.


Let me cede this space to a PitcherList report on Olthoff that I thought really captures his risk/reward:

Olthoff is a big human, 6’4″ 240 pounds they say. Yet his mound feel isn’t what you might expect. The delivery is a simple one; an easy step and here it comes. Olthoff can get decent velocity on his arm-side run fastball (low to mid-90s), but the name of his game is slowing you down a few different gears, good luck squaring up all the late swerve.

Per Olthoff’s m.o., Vancouver got a heavier dose of the three secondaries (slider/curveball/changeup) than they did the fastball. 

From a fan perspective, Olthoff is a lot of fun to watch, but as a dynasty prognosticator, it feels fair to ask how this will play for the 23-year-old as he meets more skilled hitters. This was a great seven-inning shutout performance, but man he sure lived on big chunks of the plate.

Olthoff will most likely have to walk a fine line with his arsenal, and the precision is going to need a step up or two. 

PitcherList Pitcher Review: May 16th – May 22nd, 2022

I think that gives us a clear picture. Olthoff isn’t going to dominate with velocity, so he’s going to kitchen sink you. If he controls the pitches, he could be an interesting end-rotation innings guy. If he doesn’t control the pitches, he will flame out at Triple-A.

The rest of this season will likely tell the tale of Olthoff. If he rebounds at Double-A and continues his habit of walking every 20th batter while keeping the hits at bay (and not hitting batters), scouts will warm up to him.