‘Couldn’t ask for a better running mate’ ATL Olson’s quiet but scary chase…56-homer pace

July 2, 2023 0 Comments

While the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani closed out June with an explosive run, another home run hitter is in scary pursuit.

That would be Atlanta Braves left-handed slugger Matt Olson. His velocity is on par with Ohtani’s.

Olson went 4-for-5 with two home runs and five RBIs in a 16-4 blowout win over the Miami Marlins on Monday at Truiste Park.

His 27th and 28th cannons of the season put him within striking distance of Ohtani, who reached the 30-homer plateau that day. He also added 67 RBI, tying him with Ohtani for the team lead in that category. At this pace, he’s on pace to hit 56 home runs this year. He’s a great “running mate” for Ohtani.

He added two home runs on the last day of June local time to give him 11 for the month. Ohtani hit 15 home runs in June, tying the all-time record for most home runs in a single month.

Olson has now hit 11 home runs in his last 17 games since hitting his 18th of the season on June 12 against the Washington Nationals. It was his fourth multi-homer game of the season and first in a week since June 24 against the Cincinnati Reds.

It was his first four-hit game of the season against Miami.

Olson, who started in the No. 4 spot in the lineup, opened the scoring with a two-run homer to center field in the bottom of the first inning. He took a 93-mph two-seam sinker from Atlanta right-hander Brian Hoying over the center field fence. It hit 105.6 mph and traveled 424 feet.

Olson, who made it 6-3 with a triple to right in the third inning and came home on Sean Murphy’s sacrifice fly, hit another home run in his third at-bat of the fifth. With the bases loaded, he drove right-hander Archie Bradley’s two-seam 83 mph changeup over the left-center field fence. Atlanta scored four runs on five hits in the fifth, including Olson’s homer, to take an 11-3 lead.

Olson also singled in the sixth. A double in the eighth would have been a cycling hit, but he was stranded on a grounder to shortstop.

Olson had already caught Ohtani’s attention by firing his 25th cannon of the season on April 26 in Cincinnati. Now that Ohtani has taken the lead, he’s trying to catch up again.

Entering the day, Olson was batting .246 (77-for-313) with 28 home runs, 67 RBI, 63 runs scored, a .572 on-base percentage and a .924 OPS. That’s second in both leagues in home runs, tied for first in RBIs, and fifth in OPS. He’s seventh in walks with 50 and third in strikeouts with 102. He’s the quintessential right-handed hitting slugger.

Olson was born in March 1994 and was drafted by the Oakland Athletics with the 47th overall pick in the first round of the 2012 draft. A one-hit wonder throughout his amateur and minor league career, Olson made his big league debut in mid-September 2016 and burst onto the scene the following year with 23 home runs in 79 Triple-A games and 24 in 59 major league games.

He quietly cemented his image as a big bat by hitting 36 homers in 2019, 39 in 2021, and 34 last year. He had a career year in 2021 with a .271 batting average, 39 home runs, 111 RBI, 101 runs scored, and a .911 OPS, and is on pace to set career highs in home runs and RBI this year.

Power is a natural. Olson’s average batted ball speed this year is 94.3 mph, which ranks fifth overall, and his average home run distance is 415 feet, which ranks 17th. This season, he has a 55.1 percent hard-hit rate on batted balls 95 mph or faster, the highest since his rookie year. Most notably, Olson hit a 118.6-foot solo home run off Luis Cessa in the bottom of the first inning of an April 12 home game against Cincinnati that ranks first overall this year.바카라사이트

He’s also a stellar defender, winning the American League Gold Glove at first base for the second straight season in 2018 and 2019.

After missing out on internal free agent Freddie Freeman last March, Atlanta gave Oakland a whopping four prospects to acquire Olson and locked him into an eight-year, $168 million deal.

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