Greenwich High’s Olmstead ‘honored’ to be drafted by Texas Rangers

Greenwich High School senior Taylor Olmstead gets a little dirty after launching a double during a recent game against Ridgefield. — John Ferris Robben photo

Greenwich High School senior Taylor Olmstead gets a little dirty after launching a double during a recent game against Ridgefield. — John Ferris Robben photo

Life for Greenwich High School senior Taylor Olmstead is pretty good right now.

He had highly-successful football and baseball seasons with the Cardinals, enjoyed his senior prom, is looking forward to graduating for GHS in a few short days and is doing his best to help the Greenwich Cannons senior legion team reach for that elusive state championship this summer.

Not bad for a kid that has committed to the University of Connecticut in the fall.

Despite all that, Olmstead’s smile got a little bit wider Saturday afternoon, as the Greenwich High and Greenwich Cannon right fielder found out that he was drafted by Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to make it to pro ball and the last couple of days have been amazing,” Olmstead said. “It’s been surreal and a great honor to be chosen. I can’t believe it. My family is so proud of me, my coaches are proud of me and it’s been a great couple of days.

“It’s a testament to how I work, both on and off the field,” Olmstead added. “Baseball has been my passion for a long time and I’ve been working hard at it with my teammates and coaches. I wouldn’t be anywhere without them. It’s great to see it pay off in a huge way for me.”

On Saturday, the Greenwich right fielder was chosen by the Texas Rangers in the 13th round (400th overall).

“It’s a great feeling that I got when I found out that he was drafted,” Greenwich Cannons head coach Mike Abate said. “Going through the same process when I was younger, I understand that a lot of people say that you could get drafted and that phone call never comes. I am so excited for him and his family that they got the call. I am a firm believer that good things happen to good people and Taylor’s a great person.”

For Greenwich High School head coach Mike Mora, hearing the Olmstead was drafted in the 13th round was music to his ears.

“I am so happy for him,” Mora said. “He’s such a great kid. He works so hard. It was a blessing having Taylor on the team. Every time you put him out there, you know he’s going to give you his best. He brings a lot to the game that other kids can’t do. He’s so fast and very aggressive. I’m just happy that he made the decision to play baseball. With his physical tools and being a high school kid, you could see him going anywhere from the fifth to 15th round, just based on his size, speed, strength and intensity.”

Ironically, on one of the most important days for Olmstead, he almost didn’t find out right away that he was picked.

“It was awesome,” said Olmstead, who was listening to the live stream on the MLB ticker. “It was kind of freezing on us, but we heard ‘Taylor’ and then we heard ‘Greenwich, Connecticut’ and me and my dad ran up to my computer and were really excited. I got the phone call right after and it was a really amazing experience.”

While Olmstead is proving that dreams really can come true, he also knows that his success wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for his family backing him up every step of the way.

“I can’t thank my mom and dad enough,” Olmstead said. “They spent countless hours on the road with me, taking me everywhere and I owe them a lot. They’ve been so huge in this and I wouldn’t be anywhere without them. They back me up no matter what and help me no matter what, whether I’m having a down day or an up day. They’ve been there for me 100% and helped me get my dream.”

The whole process started during last year’s American Legion season, as a scout from the St. Louis Cardinals came by a game to check out Olmstead’s ability. That exposure carried over to this year’s high school baseball season, as more scouts, including people from the Texas Rangers got a peek at Olmstead.

“I also threw out some words to the Giants in the spring and a Giants’ scout came to a few games this spring,” Mora said. “If Taylor didn’t get picked by Texas, he would have been picked up two picks later by the San Francisco Giants. We all had a feeling he was going to get drafted, but it was a matter of what round.”

In fact, Olmstead spent some time with Abate, who works for the Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy in Stamford, and worked out for the Rangers.

“Taylor’s got great projectability,” Abate said. “I think that’s one of his strengths. His size, strength and speed are amazing. Not a lot of people have that rare athletic ability.”

Olmstead said that his biggest strength was his speed, but also has been working hard on his entire repertoire.

“I work hard in everything that I do and go 100% when I run or throw,” Olmstead said. “I think I’ve improved on hitting every year and have gotten better with my bat. My bat and my speed was a great tool that they saw in me. I want to improve on my arm a little bit and work on that every day, whether that’s on the practice field, during a game or coming to the Sports Academy and working here.”

According to Maxpreps.com, Olmstead finished the spring baseball season at Greenwich High School with a .338 battling average and a .402 on-base percentage. He had 26 hits this season, with six of those being doubles and two triples. He also added one home run and 13 runs batted in.

“Although the season didn’t end the way we wanted it to, it was one of the best years I’ve ever played and I wouldn’t be anywhere without those guys,” Olmstead said. “I love playing for them and love playing for Coach Mora. It was a great experience and I’m going to miss it a lot.”

While Mora said that Olmstead was a special player on the field for the Cards, he was just as important off the field.

“He’s a kid who you would want your son to grow up to be like,” Mora said. “As much pressure on as he puts on himself to perform better for himself and his team, he still puts the team in front of himself. That’s something that’s very hard to say in today’s day and age when everything is blown up and amplified. It’s a testament to his character and his family. He hustled out every ball that he hit all season and when your top players are doing that, it does wonders for your program. He’s definitely an example for the juniors, sophomores and freshmen.”

While celebrating such as an accomplishment was a well-deserved priority, there’s little rest for Olmstead. Just as the high school season ended, it was back on the diamond for the Greenwich Cannons Senior American Legion baseball team.

“It’s easy to coach kids when you have kids at his caliber,” Abate said. “We have some great kids on our team and obviously Taylor is one of them. He’s one of the leaders here. Watching him play and watching him grow every year is exciting for me as a coach. It’s great to see him get to where he wants to be and seeing him get better all the time.”

While playing for the Cannons, Olmstead has his usual high expectations.

“We have a lot of guys coming back from the high school and Brunswick and I think we have another good shot to make a run at the state title,” Olmstead said. “I think we are going to have a lot of fun. Mike [Abate] has helped me a lot during this whole process and I wouldn’t be anywhere without him. He’s helped me out so much. It’s great to have him as a coach.”

While Olmstead is slated to be a freshman at the University of Connecticut and play for the Huskies’ baseball team, Olmstead isn’t sure yet what the future holds for him.

“As of now, I am just letting it all sink in,” Olmstead said. “I had my senior prom the same day I was drafted, so I just enjoyed the day, but I’ll be really thinking hard about it this week. I talked to Coach [Jim] Penders and I’m going to meet with him some time this week. I’m going to go over things and take it from there.”

Whatever his decision might be, it’s going to be a winning choice.

“I know that Taylor is going to work hard, whether he signs with the Texas Rangers or goes to UConn,” Mora said. “He’s a kid that’s going to get some very good instruction and he’s going to make the most of it. It’s great that he was drafted, so he’s going to have some opportunities to play in the Cape Cod League if he doesn’t sign. Getting drafted will open a lot of doors for him.”

“It’s a great place to be right now,” Olmstead said. “It’s an honor and it’s a lot of fun. I’ve been dreaming about this day since I was a little kid and it’s fun to be in this spot.”

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