There are nights when Garrett Olson steps into the batter’s box and feels like the bat is an extension of his hands, and there are nights when he digs in and feels completely lost.

Such is the life of a minor league baseball players who is being molded for the future and not the present. But the Oxford Hills graduate isn’t letting the ups and downs of his second season in professional ball discourage him.

Heading into Thursday’s doubleheader with Kane County (Ill.), Olson was batting .223 with six home runs and 46 RBIs in 108 games for the Beloit (Wis.) Snappers, the Minnesota Twins’ Single-A affiliate. The season has been as frustrating as those numbers indicate, but Olson, and the Twins organization, are always mindful of the big picture.

“They don’t try to develop you to succeed at this level. They’re trying to make you better for the next level,” he said.

In Olson’s case, that means changing his swing and approach at the plate so he can generate more power.

“They’re trying to shorten everything up, calm my hands down and make me a little more relaxed at the plate,” Olson said. “My approach is a little different than it used to be in college, and things don’t happen overnight.”

Selected out of Franklin Pierce College with the 126th pick overall in last year’s amateur draft, Olson batted .313 for the short-season Class A Elizabethton Twins of the Appalachian League, That earned him a promotion this spring to Beloit, where he got off to a solid start, batting .290 in the month of April.

But the Twins want more pop from the 6-foot-2, 200-pound right-hander. Hours of hard work in the batting cage have led to some improvements, but not to his batting average. Olson hit .224 in May, .205 in June and was hitting .194 in August going into Thursday’s games.

“Sometimes I’ll come out and it feels natural to me, but then some nights I’ll come out and none of it feels good to me,” he said. “We’ve been working to try and find something that is comfortable to me and is where they want me to be at.”

Olson knows that won’t happen today or even by the time the season ends next month (Beloit has already clinched a spot in the Midwest League playoffs). He just hopes to continue improving over the next few weeks and finish on a positive note.

One thing he doesn’t have to worry about, despite his struggles, is playing time.

“They told me from the beginning that I was going to play every day and get my at-bats and don’t get frustrated,” he said.

Olson spent the first half of the season in a utlity role, playing all over the infield and outfield. He’s settled in at third base in the second half. He has committed 20 errors on the season.

Once Beloit’s playoff run ends, Olson, who was drafted his junior year in college, will be returning to Franklin Pierce for the fall semester to continue his studies, in and out of baseball.

“It will probably be best for me because I’ll be able to get a lot of work in there, strength-wise and baseball-wise,” he said. “I’m going to help out with some of the baseball guys down there, so I’m looking forward to that.”


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