Giancarlo Stanton has few equals when it comes to hitting the long ball. Or at least that was true coming into the 2017 season. He’s definitely gained some company from this year’s impressive rookie class, as Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger and Rhys Hoskins have all announced their arrival by making home run history.
As good as they’ve all been though, none can lay claim to the feat A’s rookie slugger Matt Olson achieved on Saturday. With his second-inning solo home run against Phillies hurler Ben Lively, Olson upped his season total at the big league level to 20 in just 52 games.
That alone is mighty impressive. But what sets Olson apart is the fact he also hit 23 home runs in 79 games in the minors earlier this season. In doing that, he joins Stanton as the only two players in the last 30 years to hit at least 20 homers at both the major and minor league level in the same season.
— William Boor (@wboor) September 16, 2017
It should be noted that Hoskins stands a good chance of joining Stanton and Olson in that exclusive club. He hit 29 homers in the minors this season and is already up to 18 in the big leagues despite an August call up.
As for Olson, he’s been especially hot of late, hitting nine of his home runs since Sept. 3. That included a 483-foot blast during Friday’s game in Philadelphia.
Like most power-oriented hitters, Olson strikes out quite a bit. He added another one to his total Saturday, giving him 51 in 188 plate appearances. He averaged a little more than a strikeout per game in the minors too, so it’s definitely part of his game. Still, when you’re producing that much power and hitting for a respectable average, which Olson is at .268, then it’s easier to tolerate the whiffs.
The next challenge for Olson will be adjusting to the adjustments that are made to him. We’ve seen Aaron Judge slow down a lot in the second half in large part due to team’s adjusting to his tendencies and swing path. Olson will run into that eventually. It will be a constant battle, but it will also be a sign of respect for his unmistakable power.
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