Oakland A's 1B Matt Olson: The Fantasy Power Masher Du Jour

Matt Olson has power to all fields and will bat clean-up for the 2020 Oakland A's. SI Fantasy guru Shawn Childs breaks down his skillset and draft value.
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The Oakland Athletics are a power-focused offense with big bats in the heart of the batting order. First baseman Matt Olson is the heart of that power movement. The slugger managed to hit 36 home runs despite missing over 30 games due to a broken hamate bone in his right wrist in late March 2019. After missing five weeks at the start of the season, it took some time for him to recapture his swing. You can count on him to stay on the field though when he's healthy because he's a two-time Gold Glove winner.

Olson’s power resurgence was due to a better ratio of doubles to home runs (33:29 in 2018 and 26:36 in 2019) along with an improvement in his AVH (2.039). He needs to continue that trend to maintain his draft value. His plate approach (strikeout rate – 25.2 and walk rate – 9.3) continues to lag behind his minor league career (23.9 and 14.8), so it’s fair to expect more patience in the box.

In 2019, Olson came into his own over the last four months of the season, hitting .276 with 59 runs, 29 HRs, and 79 RBI over 395 at-bats. His batting average, which is a weakness, fell short in May (.229) and versus left-handed pitching (.223).

Given 880 career at-bats in his career versus right-handers, he hit .264 with 70 home runs and 165 RBI. Olson delivered the ninth highest hard-hit rate (50.3) in baseball with a high fly-ball rate (44.6) and HR/FB rate (23.7).

Surprisingly, his ADP (60) has ticked up slightly this spring. He is in the clear third-tier at the position, ranking somewhere between fourth and seventh at first base with guys like Anthony Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu and Paul Goldschmidt. Since he likely will bat clean-up, I don’t foresee him topping 100 runs. Olson also provides no value in speed, swiping zero bases last season. His batting average can only be league average at best based on his swing path and approach. I’m projecting 45 home runs with 110 RBI over a prorated 162-game slate.

READ MORE: 2020 Oakland Athletics Fantasy Team Preview