Matt Olson punishing left handed pitching this year
By David Hill
Typically, left handed hitters do not fare well against left handed pitching. Those players end up in platoon roles if they struggle enough, or will end up facing a lefty reliever late in a game as the opposing manager looks for the platoon advantage. However, someone has forgotten to tell Matt Olson that he is supposed to struggle against left handed pitching this year.
The Oakland A’s first baseman has not been quite the same player against lefties over his career. Olson has a .247/.324/.480 batting line against left handed pitching, a solid showing. He has also hit 37 homers and 25 doubles in his 654 plate appearances, showing plenty of power.
Matt Olson finds another gear against lefties
Olson has been a completely different animal this season. The A’s slugger has posted a stellar .307/.377/.686 batting line in 154 plate appearances against lefties this year, hitting 15 homers and seven doubles. Those 15 homers against left handed pitchers are the most in the American League this season.
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That production should not come as much of a surprise. Olson has shaken off a mediocre 2020 campaign to once again look like an emergent star. He has produced a .287/.373/.588 batting line in his 402 plate appearances entering Tuesday, hitting 27 homers and 23 doubles. He finally made his first All Star Game, and should receive some votes for MVP at the end of the year.
Most importantly for the A’s, Olson has been the best player on their roster. His 3.9 bWAR easily leads the team, as does his 168 OPS+. Considering that the A’s lineup has been inconsistent at best this season, having Olson be able to mash against righties and lefties has made a tremendous difference.
Chances are, the A’s lineup will go as far as Olson can take them. While other players have had their moments, his consistency throughout the year has been vital to the team’s success. His newfound ability to abuse left handed pitching has made him even more valuable, especially as he is in the lineup nearly every day.
Matt Olson has been battering left handed pitching this year. The Oakland A’s have needed that impressive production more than anyone could have imagined.