Matt Olson
Matt Olson at first base, Aug 05 2022.jpg
Olson with the Braves in 2022
Atlanta Braves – No. 28
First baseman
Born: (1994-03-29) March 29, 1994 (age 28)
Atlanta, Georgia
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
MLB debut
September 12, 2016, for the Oakland Athletics
MLB statistics
(through August 21, 2022)
Batting average.252
Home runs168
Runs batted in456
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Matthew Kent Olson (born March 29, 1994) is an American professional baseball first baseman for the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Oakland Athletics.

Olson made his MLB debut with Oakland in 2016. After six seasons with the Athletics, he was traded to the Braves prior to the 2022 season and signed an eight-year contract extension. Olson has won two Gold Glove Awards, three Fielding Bible Awards, and was an All-Star in 2021.

Early life

Olson is the second son of Scott and Lee Olson.[1] Scott Olson served as his sons' youth baseball coach,[2] until high school.[3] Matt Olson's older brother, Zack, later pitched for the Harvard Crimson.[3] Matt Olson attended Parkview High School in Lilburn, Georgia, where he played first base and pitched for the Parkview Panthers, leading them to back-to-back state championships in 2011 and 2012.[4] Olson finished his high school career with a .431 batting average, 44 doubles, 45 home runs, 168 runs batted in (RBIs), and a fielding percentage over 0.980. He holds the Parkview High School and Gwinnett County records for wins and RBIs. His uniform number, No. 21, was retired by Parkview High School in February 2019.[5] After graduating from high school with honors in 2012, Olson was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the first round of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft.[6][7] He had committed to play college baseball at Vanderbilt University, but ultimately decided to forgo his commitment to the Commodores and signed with Oakland.[8]

Professional career

Olson with the Athletics in 2017
Olson with the Athletics in 2017

Minor leagues

Olson made his professional debut that season with the Arizona League Athletics and also played for the Vermont Lake Monsters that first season. In total, he played in 50 games and hit .282/.352/.521 with nine home runs and 45 RBIs.

In 2013, Olson played with the Beloit Snappers.[9] In 134 games he hit .225/.326/.435 though still hit 23 home runs while driving in 93 RBIs.

Olson played the 2014 season with the Stockton Ports.[10] Throughout the season he was among the home run leaders in Minor League Baseball, as during the season he batted .262/.404/.543 with 37 home runs and 97 RBIs in 138 games, leading all minor leaguers with 500 or more plate appearances with a walk percentage of 18.5%.[11][12] He played the 2015 season with the Midland RockHounds where he hit .249 with 17 home runs and 75 RBIs in 133 games. Olson played the entire 2016 minor league season with the Nashville Sounds. In 131 games, he batted .235 with 17 home runs and 60 RBIs.

Oakland Athletics

The Athletics purchased Olson's contract on September 12, 2016, and he was called up to the major league club.[13] He played in 11 games for Oakland. In 2017, Olson split time between Nashville and Oakland. In 79 games for Nashville he batted .272 with 23 home runs and 60 RBIs,[14] and in 59 games for Oakland, he hit .259 with 24 home runs and 45 RBIs. With Oakland he hit 13 in the month of September (a rookie record) and one in five straight games. It was tied for third-most home runs in a player's first 65 career games in MLB history.[15]

Olson spent all of 2018 with Oakland, playing in all 162 games. On April 18, Olson hit his first career walk-off, an RBI single to secure a 12–11 comeback win over the Chicago White Sox.[16] His first walk-off home run came in a game against the Houston Astros on August 17.[17] On September 26, he hit his first career grand slam in a 9–3 victory over the Seattle Mariners.[18][19] Olson finished his 2018 campaign batting .247 with 29 home runs and 84 RBIs.[20] He also won his first Gold Glove Award, leading all AL first basemen with 14 defensive runs saved and an 11.6 ultimate zone rating.[21]

Olson played in both games of the 2019 Opening Series in Tokyo, Japan. During the second game on March 21, he was removed from the game after he felt pain in his right hand. The next day, he underwent successful surgery to remove the hamate bone from the hand, returning to the lineup on May 7.[22] He batted .267/.351/.545 for the 2019 season. On defense, he had a 13 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) rating, the best in the major leagues among first basemen.[23] He received his second consecutive Gold Glove Award for his defensive performance.[24]

On July 24, 2020, Olson hit the first Opening Day walk-off grand slam since 1986.[25] Olson struggled in the 2020 season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, batting .195, although he led the Oakland A's in games played (60), home runs (14) and RBIs (42).[26]

In 2021, Olson led the team in games played (156), hits (153), home runs (39), RBIs (111), walks (88) ranked second for batting average (.271) and on-base percentage (.371) and led the team in slugging percentage (.540).[27] Olson was also selected for the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game to represent the American League[28] and participated in the 2021 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby.[29] Olson was a finalist for the Silver Slugger Award[30] and for the Gold Glove Award.[31]

Atlanta Braves

On March 14, 2022, the Athletics traded Olson to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Cristian Pache, Shea Langeliers, Joey Estes, and Ryan Cusick.[32][33] The next day, Olson signed an 8-year contract extension worth $168 million.[34] At the time it was announced, the extension was the largest contract in team history, surpassing an eight-year deal worth $135 million signed by Freddie Freeman in 2014.[35] Its length and total value were exceeded by a contract given to teammate Austin Riley later that season. Olson primarily wore the number 28 jersey with the Oakland Athletics,[36] and used the same number upon signing with the Braves.[37] Olson started wearing number 28 upon his 2017 major league promotion to Oakland because his preferred number 21, which he wore to honor Jeff Francoeur, was then being used by Stephen Vogt.[38]

Personal life

Olson and his wife Nicole married in November 2021.[39][40] They reside in Atlanta, Georgia.[41]

See also

References

  1. ^ McWilliams, Julian (March 18, 2018). "A's star Matt Olson has been groomed to be a franchise pillar by his mother". The Athletic. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  2. ^ Gallegos, Martin (June 16, 2019). "Olson's father gladly went the extra mile". MLB.com. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  3. ^ a b O'Brien, David (April 6, 2022). "Braves first baseman Matt Olson, shaped by bonds forged in Atlanta, comes home". The Athletic. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  4. ^ Friedlander, David (June 8, 2012). "Olson comes up big in the clutch for Parkview". Gwinnett Daily Post.
  5. ^ Troyke, Christine (February 7, 2019). "Parkview retires Matt Olson's baseball number". Gwinnett Daily Post. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  6. ^ Lee, Jane (June 4, 2012). "Comp picks yield value in prep ranks for A's". MLB.com. Archived from the original on May 4, 2016. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  7. ^ Bernarde, Scott (June 5, 2012). "Parkview's Matt Olson Picked by the A's". Lilburn-Mountain Park, GA Patch. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  8. ^ Cortez, Javier (July 28, 2016). "One-time Vanderbilt commitment Matt Olson on track with Sounds". The Tennessean. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  9. ^ Barry, John (April 2, 2013). "Athletics' No. 5 overall prospect brings big bat to Beloit lineup". GazetteXtra. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  10. ^ Curtright, Guy (June 20, 2014). "MINOR LEAGUE NOTES: Parkview grad Matt Olson breaks out". Gwinnett Daily Post. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  11. ^ "Matt Olson » Statistics » Batting - FanGraphs Baseball". www.fangraphs.com.
  12. ^ "Ports' Olson in contention to win home run award". RecordNet.com. August 4, 2014. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  13. ^ Slusser, Susan (September 12, 2016). "A's call up prospects Matt Olson, Renato Nunez". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  14. ^ "Matt Olson Stats, Highlights, Bio - MiLB.com Stats - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  15. ^ Spaeder, Ryan (September 19, 2017). "A's Matt Olson makes up for lost time with home run binge". Sporting News. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  16. ^ "A's beat White Sox in 14-inning, nearly 6-hour game". ESPN.com. Associated Press. April 18, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  17. ^ Park, Do-Hyoung (August 17, 2018). "Olson's walk-off homer lifts A's over Astros". MLB.com. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  18. ^ "Olson's slam helps A's beat Mariners 9-3, close on Yankees". ESPN.com. Associated Press. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  19. ^ Lee, Jane (September 26, 2018). "Olson's 1st slam, Davis' 47th HR pace A's win". MLB.com. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  20. ^ "A's Matt Olson hasn't lost his power whatsoever after hand surgery". NBC Bay Area. May 17, 2019. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  21. ^ "Golden Corners: Chapman, Olson win first Gold Glove awards". NBC Bay Area. November 4, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  22. ^ Simon, Andrew (March 22, 2019). "Matt Olson undergoes surgery on hand". MLB.com. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  23. ^ "Major League Leaderboards » 2019 » First Basemen » Fielding Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball". Fangraphs.com. January 1, 2019. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  24. ^ "A's Matt Chapman, Matt Olson win second career AL Gold Glove awards". NBC Sports. November 3, 2019. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  25. ^ Rubin, Shayna (July 24, 2020). "A's: Matt Olson hits walk-off grand slam in Opening Day win over Angels". Mercury News. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  26. ^ "2020 Oakland Athletics Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  27. ^ "2021 Oakland Athletics Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com.
  28. ^ "A's Matt Olson Named American League All-Star". MLB.com. July 4, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. ^ Randhawa, Manny (July 12, 2021). "Olson opens eyes with HR Derby round". MLB.com. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  30. ^ "Matt Olson named 2021 Silver Slugger finalist for AL first basemen". NBC Bay Area. October 25, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  31. ^ "Athletics' Matt Chapman, Sean Murphy win AL Gold Glove awards". NBC Bay Area. November 8, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  32. ^ "Atlanta Braves acquire slugging 1B Matt Olson from Oakland Athletics". ESPN.com. Associated Press.
  33. ^ "A's get Braves' top prospect Pache, 3 others in trade of Olson". MLB.com. March 14, 2022. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  34. ^ "Braves sign new pickup Olson to 8-year deal". MLB.com. March 15, 2022. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  35. ^ Newberry, Paul (March 15, 2022). "Braves sign new 1B Olson to $168 million, 8-year contract". Greenwich Time. Associated Press. Retrieved March 15, 2022. One day after cutting ties with Freddie Freeman, the Atlanta Braves signed new first baseman Matt Olson to a $168 million, eight-year contract on Tuesday...The payout is the largest in Braves' history, surpassing the $135 million, eight-year deal that Freeman signed after the 2013 season.
  36. ^ Gallegos, Martin (December 1, 2021). "The best A's player to wear each number". MLB.com. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  37. ^ Olney, Buster (March 15, 2022). "Five free-agent fits for Freddie Freeman as Atlanta Braves move on". ESPN.com. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  38. ^ Doolittle, Bradford (July 13, 2022). "MLB's most productive jersey numbers". Republished in part.
  39. ^ Olseon, Matt (November 2021). "A day I'll never forget. A special weekend with friends and family. 11/20/21. So happy to call you my wife- I love you". Instagram.
  40. ^ "Matt Olson full Braves introduction press conference". YouTube. 11Alive. March 15, 2022. Retrieved March 20, 2022. "Matt Olson signs long-term extension with Braves". YouTube. Bally Sports South. March 15, 2022. Retrieved March 20, 2022.
  41. ^ "Matt Olson Q&A: A's slugger working on special project in quarantine". NBC Bay Area. April 30, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2021.