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On the Farm, Week 21: Secret Slugger, Matt Olson

I am not a scout. Since I am not a scout sometimes it’s tough for me to see what scouts like or don’t like about certain players. Recently, D.J. Peterson was someone I have been very high on from the get-go who never attained top 50 prospect status. Matt Olson is the latest player that I love that doesn’t crack any major lists top 100 despite his 36 HRs at the A+ Stockton Ports. I write about fantasy so I see all players through that lens. Through that lens this guy looks like a future stud.

The Tools

Olson was taken in 2012 right out of High School by the Oakland Athletics with the 47th overall pick in the draft. In high school Olson played 3B and ranked about as high as you could be ranked on the showcase circuit. At 6’4 and 235 lbs, Olson’s frame had near-limitless power potential to go along with enough athleticism to handle the hot corner.

The A’s are smart so after they drafted Olson they moved him to 1B immediately. This shift allowed him to focus on his craft of hitting instead of worrying about playing major league defense across the diamond. MLB.com has Olson’s power graded at a 60 — I see someone with 65-70 grade power. With good defense, a club that promotes young talent quickly, his massive power upside, and his great plan at the plate, what’s not to like?

Jake’s Take

Using the best minor league statistical data available to me, I have come up with a pretty clear indication that Olson is exactly the type of player whose power can translate to the pros. During this season Olson has hit 130 fly balls vs. 128 ground balls — these numbers encompass both hits and outs. Out of these totals 80 of his outs were of the ground ball variety and 78 were fly outs. What this tells me is he is someone who puts consistent lift on the ball and profiles more as a home run hitter than someone with pure doubles power.

Olson has also proven himself to be a very capable hitter again both lefties and righties. As a left-handed hitter, especially one that is 20 years old, it would be typical to struggle versus left-handed pitching Olson has hit .250 vs LHP and .256 vs RHP with almost no difference in his power output. To go along with all these positives he also gets on base at a great clip with help from his 18.9 BB% and has lowered his K rate of his professional career as he has moved up down to 21.6%. He is doing everything you could want a young player to do.

Conclusion

Prospect lists are great but very few of the major publications cater their data towards what we can expect a player’s fantasy output to be; that output is the only thing I care about aside from having good enough defense to make it onto the field every day. The other negative about relying on these lists is that come this time of the year a lot of the assessment, if not all, was done before the season even started and young players develop fast. Stay sharp and keep current with minor league stats and you can find future top prospects during their breakout seasons and before your rival owners even know their names.

Top 10 Dynasty Prospects for Fantasy Baseball

1. Kris Bryant, 3B, CHC (LW: 1)

Bryant hurt his foot, which gave me a bit of a scare since we lost Byron Buxton already. I want no more top prospect casualties! Since he isn’t human Bryant came back almost immediately and padded his HR lead. He now sits at 41 HR on the year.

Last 10 days: .269, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 0 SB

Season slash line: .333/.443/.682

2. Addison Russell, SS, CHC (LW: 3)

Russell keeps making up for lost time and he looks like a complete contributor across the board. He might have one of the highest floors in all of the minors.

Last 10 days: .289, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 0 SB

Season slash line: .297/.356/.523

3. Lucas Giolito, P, WAS (LW: 4)

The Nats had won 10 in a row (with 5 of 6 being walk-off victories) then dropped a game and promptly won the next two. Washington also has the games best pitching prospect in the game. Try not to be too jealous.

Line at A: 98 IP, 2.20 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 110 K

4. Corey Seager, SS, LAD (LW: 5)

Seager hasn’t been crushing the ball lately, but he has been consistent. More importantly, he should stay on the left side of the infield which gives him the slight edge over the superior offense players below him.

Last 10 days: .318, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB

Season slash line: .347/.398/.597

5. Joc Pederson, OF, LAD (LW: 10)

Pederson moves up because, despite being blocked, he’s giving us his best George Springer impression. He won’t get to 45 steals with only a couple of weeks left but he could conceivably get to 37 HR. He is doing it all with a better OBP than Springer had, too.

Last 10 days: .290, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3 SB

Season slash line: .300/.432/.580

6. Joey Gallo, 3B, TEX (LW: 6)

Gallo has been cold now for some time. Some would even say ice cold. He remains here out of respect to the 40 balls he has put over the fence.

Last 10 days: .207, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB

Season slash line: .276/.395/.621

7. Jorge Soler, OF, CHC (LW: NR)

Breaking onto the scene in the seven spot, Soler knows how to make a dramatic entrance. In just 58 games this season he has put together some of the most impressive baseball in the minors. Expect him to hit the big club during September.

Last 10 days: .316, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 0 SB

Season slash line: .338/.432/.687

8. Archie Bradley, SP, ARI (LW: 7)

Good things are happening for Bradley as of late. Over his last two outings he has only allowed 1 ER. He is starting to round into form, and he’s an Arizona Fall League candidate.

Season Line in Minors: 82.2 IP, 3.92 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 75 K

9. Dylan Bundy, SP, BAL (LW: 8)

After three straight outings where he put up just one strikeout, Bundy looked like the guy who deserves to be on this list striking out seven over his last start.

Season Line in Minors: 41.1 IP, 3.27 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 37 K

10. Daniel Norris, SP, TOR (LW: NR)

Norris on merit of this year alone should be ranked the highest of any pitcher on this board. He’s a lefty with massive strikeout potential and close proximity to the minors. I love his stuff and would like to own him in any keeper format. Over his last 16.2 innings at AAA he has struck out 32 batters!

Season Line in Minors: 118.2 IP, 2.20 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 157 K

Missing Due to Season Ending Injury: Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa and Miguel Sano

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About the author: Jake is 26 years old and a Massachusetts native currently living in Washington, DC. He’s always lived and died by the success of the Red Sox but expanded his fandom to fantasy as a whole after joining a dynasty league in 2011. Jake’s other hobbies include comic books, video games, hiking, and enlightening baseball minds (not in that order). (@DevJake)

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