Scouting profile: Matt Olson
Oakland Athletics first-base/outfield prospect Matt Olson was one of three high-profile high school players selected by the club in the 2012 Draft. Olson joined current Chicago Cubs infielder Addison Russell and highly regarded Rays infielder Daniel Robertson to form a trio of superb high school athletes selected by Oakland to fortify its organizational depth. While Russell and Robertson were included in major trades by the A's, Olson remains with Oakland. For good reason. He is a major source of power.
The left-handed-hitting Olson is 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds of strength. He is No. 2 on the A's Top 30 Prospects list .
Olson was a very solid pitcher at Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga. With his loud bat and his strong starting pitching, Olson helped lead his team to two Class AAAAAA state championships. As a senior, he went 12-1 with a 1.64 ERA in 85 innings. He also hit .353.
I saw Olson in the 2014 Arizona Fall League. He hit .257 in 11 games before leaving with a sore shoulder that he hurt in a collision at first base. Two components of his game were obvious in his 46 plate appearances. He showed outstanding patience and plate discipline, and he hit with tremendous power. Olson finished his short autumn stint with four home runs.
This year at Double-A Midland, Olson hit 14 homers and drove in 75 runs. He also walked 105 times. In his 585 trips to the plate, Olson struck out 139 times on his way to a .249 average.
Taking advantage of his quick hands and strong wrists, Olson feasts on fastballs, getting the barrel of the bat out front and driving the ball to his pull side. Big, strong and athletic, Olson has above-average pitch recognition and is selective in offering at pitches. His big arms cover the plate well. Olson's swing is short and compact.
This year Olson played almost an equal amount of games at first base, left field and right field. His versatility and arm strength are assets to his game. He plays very capable defense and is a tad above average.
Olson shows good reflexes and agility at first base, reacting quickly to wild throws and saving the defense throwing errors.
Raw power is the focal point of Olson's game, and even more power should be on the way. His assets, however, don't end with hitting home runs. For a man of his size, Olson is not a liability on the bases. He is capable of stealing and will take an extra base if he feels the situation is correct.
As a former pitcher, Olson has the arm strength and accuracy to play any of the three outfield positions. He may fit best at either corner as opposed to center field. To me, his primary position is first base, where he profiles and projects nicely.
While I admire Olson's keen eye at the plate, I'd like to see him take fewer pitches and become a bit more aggressive. With his power continuing to emerge, he may have to take some chances and go beyond his usual comfort zone.
One of the factors leading to a less-than-stellar batting average this season rests in Olson's lack of success against left-handed pitching. One may look at his .219 average against lefties in 2015 and see a potential platoon situation for him. However, Olson is still only 21, and he has time and more development opportunities to gain experience.
I find this interesting
In the past two seasons, Olson has walked 222 times. That's indicative of his patience, pitch recognition and selectivity.
The future for Olson
In another year, I believe Olson can find his way to the A's lineup as either an outfielder or first baseman, depending upon the team's needs.
I believe his power will continue to develop and he will ultimately provide a big bat in the middle of the lineup.
Olson in a word