Oakland Athletics: Prospect Matt Olson Makes His Return
By Joey Lopez
The Oakland Athletics are expected to give Matt Olson an extended look when he joins the team this week.
The Oakland Athletics are in rebuild-mode and the youth movement that started back in June continues to gain traction. The A’s parted ways with Yonder Alonso on Sunday afternoon in a trade that sent the All-Star to the Seattle Mariners.
Alonso’s departure seems to fit the storyline the A’s are trying to maintain. The team seems focused on developing their young talent during the season’s final two months. According to Susan Slusser of the SF Chronicle, Matt Olson is likely the next young prospect to receive an extended look.
Long ranked as one of the organization’s top prospects, Olson has not received much playing time with the A’s. Olson has made several appearances over the last few seasons, but nothing substantial.
Olson has had success this year in Triple-A Nashville, slashing .272/.367/.568 with 23 HR and 60 RBI. The A’s will likely give Olson a look at first base alongside Ryon Healy.
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Olson, 23, has been considered one of the A’s top prospects in recent years. Among the A’s Top-30 prospects, MLB.com ranks Olson as 16th. The young infielder has plenty of raw power, but has had difficulty minimizing his strikeouts.
Power & Walking
Olson has had some exposure to big league action this year. In 18 games, Olson slashed .196/.317/.451 with four home runs and 9 RBIs. Over his 60 plate appearances, however, Olson whiffed 22 times, resulting in an alarming strikeout rate (36.7%).
It is a relatively small sample size, yes, but still tells an accurate story of Olson’s deficiencies as a hitter. Cutting back on his strikeouts will be crucial for Olson and his level of success in the majors. If he does succeed in minimizing the strikeouts, Olson could be a lift for the A’s offensively.
Along with raw power, Olson draws his fair share of walks. The young prospect had a 13.1% walk-rate this year with Nashville. He drew 45 walks in 79 games with the Sounds this year.
In his short stint with Oakland earlier this year, Olson drew eight walks in 16 games. If he continues that trend when he returns this week, then Olson may find himself staying in the majors.
Olson has bounced back and forth between Oakland and Nashville, but has a legitimate shot this week at capturing an everyday role with the A’s. He has had plenty of success at the minor-league level, but will need to address his strikeout rate and offensive inefficiencies if he truly wishes to stay in Oakland.