The Oakland A’s have a new All-Star in their ranks.
First baseman Matt Olson was named to the 2021 American League All-Star team on Sunday. It’s the first career selection for the 27-year-old slugger. Click here to see full rosters for both sides.
Olson will slot in as a reserve on the AL roster, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr of the Toronto Blue Jays voted in by fans to start at first base. Olson finished second behind Guerrero in player voting at the position, reports Matt Kawahara of the S.F. Chronicle.
For now, Olson is the A’s lone rep, even though they made the postseason each of the last three years and are currently in Wild Card position again this summer, and even though they have two starting pitchers in the Top 10 in ERA including the AL Pitcher of the Month for June, and even though their closer also just won AL Reliever of the Month. But we’ll talk more about that in another post.
This is all about Olson, who’s waited a long time for this honor. He burst onto the scene in 2017 but not until after the All-Star break, and then he played all of 2018 but didn’t get a midsummer nod. He had a great 2019 that earned him MVP votes, but missed the first month of the season to injury to tank his All-Star chances. There were no All-Stars in 2020 and he had an off-year anyway, but this summer everything came together.
His defense has never been in question, with two Gold Gloves and three Fielding Bibles already on his resume, and his power has been nationally known for years. But this season he cut down his strikeouts and is fully unleashing his offensive talents, and his breakout has him among the Top 10 or 15 hitters in the entire majors.
- Olson: .282/.370/.554, 152 wRC+, 20 HR, 11.3% BB, 16.4% Ks
Both Matts can now call themselves All-Stars, as Matt Chapman got a bid in 2019. Among the rest of the A’s roster, past nods have gone to Jed Lowrie with Oakland in 2018, and Elvis Andrus (twice), Sergio Romo, Mitch Moreland, and Trevor Rosenthal for other clubs. Moreland’s 2018 pick with the Red Sox arguably came at the expense of Olson.
Looking back through team history, the last A’s first baseman to be selected was Yonder Alonso in 2017, and overall Olson is the sixth player to represent the club at the position since they moved to Oakland. Here’s the full list, going back to 1968:
- Mark McGwire (1987-92, 95-97)
- John Jaha (1999)
- Jason Giambi (2000-01)
- Brandon Moss (2014)
- Yonder Alonso (2017)
- Matt Olson (2021)
Also: Go back to the Philly and KC days and you get Jimmie Foxx (three times), Dick Siebert, Ferris Fain (three times), Eddie Robinson, Vic Power (twice), and Norm Siebern (twice). Click here for the full list.
Congrats to Oly on his well-deserved first career All-Star selection!
Announced Oly's All-Star selection just as he approached the plate pic.twitter.com/wdpvLDtx36— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 4, 2021