Matt Olson has baseball in him since he was little, growing up in Georgia looking up to his home state’s star, Chipper Jones. Who could have seen back then that Olson would come up to the MLB hidden in a shroud of talented rookies, only to burst free of the pack and win back-to-back Gold Gloves alongside one of his classmates? Seems improbable, but that was the movie-script-esque turn Matt Olson’s life took.
In 2012, Olson had committed to Vanderbilt, but when the call came from the A’s to tell Olson he had been selected with the 47th overall pick in that year’s draft, he opted out of college to go the professional route instead.
Olson started his trek in the Arizona rookie league and spent the next four years chugging up the ladder until the A’s selected his contract on September 12th, 2016 and Olson scooted up to his first MLB game. At the time, Olson emerged hidden among a throng of Ryon Healy, Chad Pinder, Franklin Barreto, and Matt Chapman, at the end of a disappointing season for the team. Try as he might, Olson did not make the impact the others did. Olson put in 28 PA in his first 11 games, accumulating a grand total of 2 hits, no dingers, no RBI.
Olson split his 2017 bopping between the bigs and the minors, but was determined to make an impact on the team. In search of that first kick, Olson — playing right field that day — got his first Big League home run on June 24th.
As if the baseball overlords were having a good guffaw, two other A’s rookies — Franklin Barreto and Jaycob “Bruggy” Brugman — crushed their first career dingers ... in that exact same game, marking just the second time in MLB history that three teammates combined to do that. Great result for the A’s, but still no spotlight for Olson.
Soon after that, though, it was finally Oly’s turn to shine. In only 59 games, Oly smacked 24 dingers and racked up 45 RBI. In September alone, he hit 13 HRs, crushing one per game for 5 straight games. His 13 in a month set a rookie record.
In 2018, Olson and fellow infielder Matt (Chapman) embarked on a dazzling trip to prove themselves as one of the most fierce defensive and offensive tandems in all of baseball. The result? Olson won his first Gold Glove, and so did Chapman.
Olson’s 2019 got off to a jolting start — and for a while, it was a grim mystery when he would be able to start at all. Olson had to have surgery to remove his right hamate bone — which is a real part of the body I did not know existed until Oly broke his.
It may have been apparent from a young age the love Olson had for baseball, but there’s no way he could have fully prepared himself for what was to come. Sure, you can dream it, but actually picking up back-to-back Gold Gloves at just 25 years old? Crazy! Absurd! Oly Toledo!
If he’s done all that already, the sky is the limit for the young first baseman. We can only sit back and enjoy the dinger shows and pickin’ machine clinics yet to come!
Olson appeared on Chatting Cage back on September 10th, sporting a shirt drawn by someone you guys might know!