Matt Olson
Olson with the Oakland Athletics in 2017
Oakland Athletics – No. 28
First baseman / Right fielder
Born: (1994-03-29) March 29, 1994 (age 27)
Atlanta, Georgia
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
MLB debut
September 12, 2016, for the Oakland Athletics
MLB statistics
(through 2021 season)
Batting average.252
Home runs142
Runs batted in373
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Matthew Kent Olson (born March 29, 1994) is an American professional baseball first baseman for the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2016. 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. His older brother, Zack Olson, pitched for the Harvard Crimson.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] After graduating high school with honors in 2012, Olson was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the first round of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft.[4][5] He had committed to play college baseball at Vanderbilt University, but ultimately decided to forgo his commitment to the Commodores and signed with Oakland.[6]

Professional career

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.[7] 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.[8] 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%.[9][10] 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 (2016–present)

The Athletics purchased Olson's contract on September 12, 2016, and he was called up to the major league club.[11] 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,[12] 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.[13]

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. On September 26, he hit his first career grand slam in a 9–3 victory over the Seattle Mariners.[14] Olson finished his 2018 campaign batting .247 with 29 home runs and 84 RBIs.[15] 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.[16]

Olson played in both games of the 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.[17] 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.[18] He received his second consecutive Gold Glove Award for his defensive performance.[19]

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) & RBI (42).[20] In 2021, Olson led the team in games played (156), hits (153), HRs (39), RBI (111), BB (88) ranked second for BA (.271) and OBP (.371) and led the team in SLG (.540).[21] Olson was also selected for the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game to represent the American League [22] and participated in the 2021 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby.[23] Olson was a finalist for the Silver Slugger Award[24] and for the Gold Glove Award.[25]

Personal life

Olson resides in Atlanta during the offseason.[26]

References

  1. ^ "35 - Zack Olson". Harvard Crimson. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  2. ^ Friedlander, David (June 8, 2012). "Olson comes up big in the clutch for Parkview". Gwinnett Daily Post.
  3. ^ Troyke, Christine (February 7, 2019). "Parkview retires Matt Olson's baseball number". Gwinnett Daily Post. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Bernarde, Scott (June 5, 2012). "Parkview's Matt Olson Picked by the A's". Lilburn-Mountain Park, GA Patch. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  6. ^ Cortez, Javier (July 28, 2016). "One-time Vanderbilt commitment Matt Olson on track with Sounds". The Tennessean. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  7. ^ Barry, John (April 2, 2013). "Athletics' No. 5 overall prospect brings big bat to Beloit lineup". GazetteXtra. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  8. ^ Curtright, Guy (June 20, 2014). "MINOR LEAGUE NOTES: Parkview grad Matt Olson breaks out". Gwinnett Daily Post. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  9. ^ "Matt Olson » Statistics » Batting - FanGraphs Baseball". www.fangraphs.com.
  10. ^ "Ports' Olson in contention to win home run award". RecordNet.com. August 4, 2014. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  11. ^ Slusser, Susan (September 12, 2016). "A's call up prospects Matt Olson, Renato Nunez". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  12. ^ "Matt Olson Stats, Highlights, Bio - MiLB.com Stats - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  13. ^ Spaeder, Ryan (September 19, 2017). "A's Matt Olson makes up for lost time with home run binge". Sporting News. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  14. ^ Lee, Jane (September 26, 2018). "Olson's 1st slam, Davis' 47th HR pace A's win". MLB.com. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  15. ^ "A's Matt Olson hasn't lost his power whatsoever after hand surgery". NBCSports.com. May 17, 2019. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  16. ^ "Golden Corners: Chapman, Olson win first Gold Glove awards". NBCS Bay Area. November 4, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  17. ^ Simon, Andrew (March 22, 2019). "Matt Olson undergoes surgery on hand". MLB.com. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  18. ^ "Major League Leaderboards » 2019 » First Basemen » Fielding Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball". Fangraphs.com. January 1, 2019. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  19. ^ "A's Matt Chapman, Matt Olson win second career AL Gold Glove awards". NBC Sports. November 3, 2019. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  20. ^ "2020 Oakland Athletics Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  21. ^ "2021 Oakland Athletics Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com.
  22. ^ "A's Matt Olson Named American League All-Star". MLB.com.
  23. ^ Randhawa, Manny (July 12, 2021). "Olson opens eyes with HR Derby round". MLB.com. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  24. ^ "Matt Olson named 2021 Silver Slugger finalist for AL first basemen | RSN". Nbcsports.com. October 25, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  25. ^ "Athletics' Matt Chapman, Sean Murphy win AL Gold Glove awards | RSN". Nbcsports.com. November 8, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  26. ^ "Matt Olson Q&A: A's slugger working on special project in quarantine". NBCSports.com. April 30, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2021.