Matt Olson

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Matthew Kent Olson

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Biographical Information[edit]

First baseman Matt Olson began his professional career in 2012.

He was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the supplemental first round, 47th overall, of the 2012 amateur draft and signed for a bonus of $1,080,000. The signing scout was Matt Ranson.

He began his career playing for the AZL Athletics and Vermont Lake Monsters, hitting a combined .282/.352/.521 with 9 home runs, 45 RBI and 32 runs scored in 50 games. Entering the 2013 season, he was ranked by as the Athletics' 5th-best prospect. That year, he hit .225/.326/.435 with 23 home runs, 93 RBI and 69 runs scored in 134 games for the Beloit Snappers, making the Midwest League Mid-Season All-Star team. With the Stockton Ports in 2014, he hit .262/.404/.543 with 37 home runs, 97 RBI, 111 runs scored and 117 walks in 138 games. He won the Single-A Joe Bauman Home Run Award that year.

Olson hit his first two career homers in the same game, on June 24, 2017 against the Chicago White Sox. In the 10-2 win, teammates Jaycob Brugman and Franklin Barreto also connected for their first homers, the first time this had happened since the 1914 Kansas City Packers had pulled off the trick in the Federal League. From September 15-19, he homered in five straight games to push his total over the 20 mark. He was the fifth player in team history to accomplish this, although it was still one game shy of the team mark of six held by Frank Thomas. He finished the season with 24 homers in just 189 at-bats, but just two other extra-base hits, both doubles, for an extremely unusual stat line. He then had an excellent sophomore season as one of the leaders of a young A's team that surprised everyone by clinching a post season slot. He played all 162 games, hitting .247 with 33 doubles and 29 homers, scored 85 runs and drove in 84. He not only hit well, his defensive was also outstanding, earning him a Gold Glove. In the Wild Card Game against the New York Yankees, he went 0 for 2 with a pair of walks.

In 2019, he started both games of the A's season-opening two-game series against the Seattle Mariners at the Tokyo Dome, going 1 for 5 with a walk and a run. However, in his final at-bat on March 21st, he injured his hand on a foul tip and had to undergo surgery the next day, putting his streak of consecutive games played in jeopardy even though the A's next game was not scheduled for another week. Indeed, x-rays revealed a broken hamate bone, putting him on the shelf for a while and forcing the A's to acquire veteran Kendrys Morales from the Toronto Blue Jays to fill in in his absence. He returned to the line-up on May 7th and went on to play 127 games, hitting a .267 with 36 homers and 91 RBIs - all career bests in spite of the time missed. He repeated as winner of the Gold Glove at 1B. But, once again, the A's season ended in disappointment with a loss in the Wild Card Game, this time to the Tampa Bay Rays. He went 1 for 3 with a walk in the 5-1 loss.

On July 24, 2020, he was the hero in the A's first game of the abbreviated season. In the first game to go into extra innings after the adoption of the tiebreaker rule, he hit a walk-off grand slam off reliever Hoby Milner of the Los Angeles Angels in the bottom of the 10th to give his team a 7-3 win. In the top of the inning, he had made a very good play to cut off the Angels' "additional runner", Shohei Ohtani, the first such runner in major league history, at third base. It was the first opening day walk-off grand slam since Jim Presley had hit one for the 1986 Seattle Mariners.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time AL Gold Glove Winner (2018 & 2019)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 3 (2017-2019)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2019)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Matt Kelly: "Don't expect sophomore slump for Olson: Rookie first baseman made most of his elite contact in 2017",, February 5, 2018. [1]

Related Sites[edit]