Oakland Athletics: Matt Olson Finally Showing Potential
By Joey Lopez
The Oakland Athletics have a nice core starting to form with their corner infielders. Alongside Matt Chapman, Matt Olson is finally showing everyone why he belongs in Oakland.
The Oakland Athletics continue to lose at an alarming pace, but not all hope should be lost. The A’s dropped Monday’s contest against the Angels at home, but Matt Olson continued his recent power surge.
His recent surge has helped Olson raise his average to .262 on the year. He’s slashing .262/.340/.603 with 14 HR and 29 RBI overall through 41 games.
Entering the season, Olson was ranked as one of Oakland’s top prospects. In fact, Olson’s name has usually appeared near the top of Oakland’s rankings in recent years. Playing time, however, was not a given for Olson.
Yonder Alonso had an unexpected boost in production this year before being sent to Seattle in August. Alonso’s production was impressive, but Olson has filled the void at first base nicely.
Playing Time Equals Production?
The A’s did not give Olson much of a chance in 2016, despite the team’s struggles. As a result, Olson appeared in just 11 games last season and slashed a disappointing .095/.321/.143 in the process.
Olson appeared in a few games earlier this year, but continued to get lost in the A’s roster shuffle. He received 49 at-bats prior to the All-Star break and slashed just .184/.310/.449 with four home runs and 9 RBI during that time span.
Thanks to a productive month of August, however, Olson has experienced better results in the second-half. Olson slashed .305/.359/.661 with 7 HR and 14 RBI in August.
The A’s have continued to award Olson with plenty of playing time as a result of his increased production. The high strikeout rate (30.9%) continues to be worrisome with Olson, but he has cut it down a bit in the second half (26.9%).
While the strikeouts are worrisome, they are to be expected. Olson has put up a respectable walk rate this year (9.6%), but he is going to have his share of strikeouts. If he can continue to draw a walk and provide solid power, then Olson’s strikeout rate should be tolerable.
The important thing for Olson right now is continued playing time. Olson has demonstrated he can hit on the major league level and provide the A’s with serious power. Rewarding him with playing time and opportunities to develop should be Oakland’s priority moving forward.