The Oakland Athletics have been rather hit or miss on offense this year. Power has been their M.O. since April and Matt Olson has continued Oakland’s year-long trend of hitting home runs.
The Oakland Athletics have given into their youth movement. The departure of Yonder Alonso made way for the arrival of prospect Matt Olson this month.
Olson has been toyed with over the last two seasons, but he finally has a shot at making a significant impression. Olson, 23, has spent time in Triple-A Nashville for the past two years.
He has seen some playing time with Oakland during that time span, but nothing too substantial. It seemed as if he would get a start or two and then find himself back in Nashville without having made a real impact in Oakland.
Oakland’s youth movement, however, finally took off this year and gained serious traction in July. The A’s parted ways with Sonny Gray and acquired three talented prospects with plenty of promise and potential.
Billy Beane has stated several times this year that the A’s focus is now on developing their younger players. Players like Olson will now receive plenty of playing time during these final weeks of the season.
Providing The Power
Olson’s true asset has always been his raw power potential.
He hit 23 homers this year in Nashville over 79 games. In just 27 games this year with the A’s, Olson has tallied 8 HR and 16 RBI. He is slashing .213/.292/.525 overall this year.
The A’s know that Olson is not going to hit for a very high average. They know that.
They also know that Olson will, if given a serious opportunity, provide plenty of power. Since his call-up on August 8th, Olson has hit four home runs. The power comes at a price and the A’s know this as well.
While the sample size is small this year, Olson’s strikeout percentage (36.4%) is a hefty price to pay for power. If Olson can limit the number of strikeouts, he could provide the A’s with solid power and defense at first base.
The strikeouts are a cause for concern, but Olson does draw his share of walks. The A’s love a guy who can take a walk and Olson is a guy that loves to walk. In the 79 games he appeared in with Nashville, Olson recorded a solid walk percentage (13.1%).
In his limited action this year, Olson has posted a 9.1% walk percentage with Oakland. If that number trends upward and closer to the mark he posted in Nashville, Olson should become a solid option for Oakland moving forward.