Oakland A’s: Matt Olson the MVP for April

Matt Olson was considered a possible dark horse for the American League MVP award this season. He had been projected to tie for the AL lead in homers, and with the Oakland A’s expected to contend for the postseason, a strong season from Olson could put him squarely in the conversation for MVP. But Olson and the A’s had to do their parts in order for that to happen.

Oakland did its part, riding a 13 game winning streak to end April with a 16-11 record. That record was also skewed by a six game losing streak to open the season, but let us focus on the positive here.

Matt Olson the Oakland A’s April MVP

This left Olson to play to his potential in order to fulfill that destiny. He had appeared to shake off a disappointing 2020 season in spring training, as he entered camp swinging a hot bat. It was just a matter of whether or not that would carry over into the regular season.

To this point, it certainly has. Olson had produced a solid .296/.363/.580 batting line, hitting six homers and five doubles in his 91 plate appearances. His solid batting eye had returned as well, as Olson drew six walks while striking out just 16 times. Olson certainly appeared to be back, and ready to be the player that the A’s needed.

To this point, the only thing that has slowed Olson down is himself. He missed some time after drilling himself in the face during batting practice, as he hit a line drive hard enough off of the L screen protecting the pitcher for the ball to ricochet back and hit him in the eye. Olson returned to the lineup on May 2, sporting a black eye, but also hitting a homer and a double as the A’s took the final game of their three game series against the Orioles.

That production after three games off, and the A’s victory with his return, underscores what he means to the lineup. Olson’s power bat brings the rest of the lineup together, adding a dangerous weapon that the A’s cannot replace. His absence certainly made a difference over the weekend.

Matt Olson was easily the Oakland A’s MVP for the month of April. If he keeps producing at the level he is, he could take a run at the AL MVP as well.