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Statcast 8: Mattcast

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Matt Olson is on an absolute tear. Does Statcast back it up?

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Philadelphia Phillies
Matt Olson has homered in five consecutive games. Will he ever stop?
John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Olson hitting a home run has been a daily occurrence for nearly a week and he has now set the record for most home runs in September by a rookie. It is unusual to see a rookie jump from the minor leagues the Major League baseball and perform better. Cody Bellinger and Rhys Hoskins are examples from this season, but Olson just might be the best of the three. Alex did an excellent job putting Olson’s home runs in context.

Since Olson was called up to Oakland for good on August 8th he has the 6th highest average-exit velocity in among hitters with at least 75 batted-ball events.

Matt Olson vs. the Field

Player BA ISO SLG wOBA xwOBA xBA Exit Velocity
Player BA ISO SLG wOBA xwOBA xBA Exit Velocity
Nelson Cruz 0.435 0.380 0.815 0.524 0.509 0.414 93.3
Giancarlo Stanton 0.394 0.567 0.962 0.557 0.504 0.357 93.1
Kendrys Morales 0.323 0.260 0.583 0.381 0.417 0.350 92.5
Jose Martinez 0.427 0.267 0.693 0.481 0.525 0.440 92.5
Matt Chapman 0.357 0.310 0.667 0.428 0.376 0.305 91.8
Matt Olson 0.400 0.611 1.011 0.584 0.503 0.381 91.5
Jose Abreu 0.426 0.402 0.828 0.521 0.427 0.354 91.3
Joe Mauer 0.436 0.165 0.602 0.448 0.405 0.378 91.1
Albert Pujols 0.328 0.151 0.479 0.347 0.425 0.380 91.0
Marcell Ozuna 0.404 0.263 0.667 0.455 0.369 0.317 90.9
Khris Davis 0.375 0.463 0.838 0.499 0.454 0.362 90.9
Dominic Smith 0.304 0.293 0.598 0.376 0.398 0.336 90.9
Rhys Hoskins 0.388 0.592 0.980 0.560 0.473 0.360 90.8
Christian Yelich 0.393 0.241 0.634 0.436 0.417 0.361 90.8
Tommy Pham 0.390 0.366 0.756 0.478 0.427 0.356 90.6
Daniel Murphy 0.354 0.177 0.532 0.378 0.397 0.352 90.6
Robinson Cano 0.373 0.153 0.525 0.390 0.392 0.364 90.6
C.J. Cron 0.416 0.416 0.831 0.519 0.477 0.393 90.6
Josh Donaldson 0.402 0.539 0.941 0.559 0.472 0.340 90.5
Paul Goldschmidt 0.337 0.388 0.724 0.444 0.466 0.385 90.5
BaseballSavant.com

You’ll notice two other familiar names on the above list. It’s no wonder the A’s are 6th in runs scored, 4th in wOBA, and 2nd in ISO wRC+ in all of baseball in that time frame. These young A’s can hit, and chief among them: Matt Olson, the prospect that was brushed aside in the midst of the team’s current rebuild and Yonder Alonso’s breakout.

It’s important to remember Olson’s history in the A’s organization when you consider that he’s the team’s best hitter as of now.

Olson, the 47th overall pick out of high school, cracked top-100 prospect lists twice: MLB’s pre-2015 and pre-2016 lists. He has been young for his league at each stop showing excellent on-base skills and good power. So how did this would-be platoon first baseman become among the most powerful men in baseball? He’s crushing offspeed pitches.

Matt Olson vs. Offspeed

BA ISO SLG wOBA xwOBA xBA Exit Velocity
BA ISO SLG wOBA xwOBA xBA Exit Velocity
0.441 (9th in MLB) 0.529 (3rd in MLB) 0.971 (3rd in MLB) 0.591 (4th in MLB) 0.524 (2nd in MLB) 0.415 (5th in MLB) 93.2 (1st in MLB)
BaseballSavant.com

Those numbers speak for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, he is hammering nearly everything thrown his way but Olson is being fed a healthy diet of off-speed pitches and is actually doing more damage against them than he is against fastballs. And as we are discovering more and more each day thanks to the fly-ball revolution across baseball, balls hit into the air turn into the best hits. Olson is among the league’s best at hitting fly balls and line drives.

Matt Olson vs. Flyballs

Player BA ISO SLG wOBA xwOBA xBA Exit Velocity Launch Angle
Player BA ISO SLG wOBA xwOBA xBA Exit Velocity Launch Angle
Giancarlo Stanton 0.71 1.34 2.05 1.10 0.96 0.61 101.3 26.1
Nelson Cruz 0.61 0.67 1.29 0.78 0.77 0.59 98.7 23.7
Josh Donaldson 0.64 1.17 1.81 1.00 0.82 0.52 98.6 30.2
Matt Olson 0.63 1.20 1.83 1.01 0.76 0.51 98.3 27.6
Aaron Judge 0.55 0.81 1.36 0.77 0.84 0.54 97.9 29.9
Matt Chapman 0.44 0.63 1.07 0.61 0.58 0.43 97.6 28.6
Brandon Moss 0.47 0.67 1.14 0.65 0.74 0.52 97.3 28.2
Kendrys Morales 0.49 0.59 1.07 0.64 0.66 0.48 97.3 26.4
Joey Gallo 0.51 0.91 1.43 0.79 0.89 0.59 97.0 25.9
Ryan Zimmerman 0.49 0.67 1.16 0.68 0.67 0.49 96.5 24.7
Christian Yelich 0.45 0.45 0.91 0.56 0.64 0.51 96.5 22.9
Nolan Arenado 0.44 0.63 1.07 0.62 0.60 0.44 96.5 26.3
Chris Davis 0.53 0.60 1.13 0.67 0.65 0.49 96.3 26.2
Anthony Rizzo 0.56 0.53 1.09 0.67 0.68 0.53 96.3 23.6
Matt Joyce 0.59 0.85 1.44 0.80 0.65 0.48 96.3 25.3
J.D. Martinez 0.63 1.07 1.70 0.94 0.81 0.54 96.1 28.7
Edwin Encarnacion 0.45 0.79 1.23 0.67 0.76 0.50 96.0 28.4
Cody Bellinger 0.63 0.84 1.47 0.87 0.74 0.51 96.0 26.3
Cory Spangenberg 0.61 0.67 1.27 0.79 0.54 0.41 95.9 26.0
Jose Abreu 0.56 0.80 1.36 0.77 0.66 0.50 95.9 24.6
BaseballSavant.com

The Oakland lineup has really come together as of late, and much credit is due to Olson for that. He’s giving the team and its fans the same sort of feelings Jason Giambi gave them. Early on in his home run binge Olson reminded me of former Athletic Adam Dunn during Dunn’s prime. Now I think he has a legitimate chance to be better.

At some point Olson will stop hitting home runs every day (I think) but it’s not as if he’s doing other things poorly. Since August 8th Olson has a better-than-average BB/K and has brought his K-rate down to 22.6%, one of the lowest of his career.

Like I said, it’s not common for rookies to perform better following their promotion of the show, but Olson is doing all the right things to disprove the notion that he’s gotten lucky and will fade fast. I think it’s time we get used to Matt Olson being the future of the Oakland A’s.