Oakland A’s: Matt Olson’s odd 2020 season continues
By David Hill
Matt Olson has had the type of season that seemingly defies explanation.
Heading into the season, Matt Olson was expected to be a key power threat of the Oakland A’s lineup. He and Matt Chapman were expected to lead the way, providing the A’s with a fearsome duo of run producers in the middle of the lineup.
Olson has done his part with a team leading nine homers. But that is really all he has done when making contact, as he has just seven other hits, all singles. His .170/.310/.457 batting line, with 19 walks and 27 strikeouts in 113 plate appearances, is certainly interesting.
He has actually displayed progress at the plate this season, despite what his batting line may indicate. Olson has increased his walk rate to a career best 16.8% while cutting his strikeout rate to 23.9%.
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Meanwhile, Olson has been hitting the ball well. His 92.5 MPH exit velocity is in the top 6% in the game, and is in the 87th percentile in hard hit percentage. Olson’s expected batting line of .253/.321/.530 is much more in line with what the A’s would have anticipated at the start of the season.
The biggest issue for Olson is that while he is hitting the ball well, he is hitting it right at the defense. He has a .121 batting average on balls in play, far below his career mark of .274. While that does not take into account his nine homers, it is a fair indication that his low batting average is a matter of bad luck.
As a whole, the A’s offense has somewhat underwhelmed, ranking 12th in batting average. Yet, there are signs that a breakout will happen in time. That is particularly true when it comes to Olson, as his batted ball profile shows that the hits will start coming.
Matt Olson is doing everything right except having the ball fall in. But that may just be a matter of time at this point.