Athletics' Matt Olson Moving Into Upper Level of MLB Fantasy 1B Picks

Even after losing six-plus weeks of the 2019 season to an early hamate injury, Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson opened eyes with his power and RBI output, moving him into the elite level of fantasy first base picks for 2020.
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Matt Olson is continuing to gain support from fantasy baseball fans, and if the season ever gets going, Olson figures to be a hot pickup.

Before the 2019 season, the Oakland A’s first baseman had basically a season and a half under his belt, showing above average power and a Gold Glove.

But he wound up being a mid-draft pick with fantasy players concerned both that his power output had tailed off, going from 24 homers in 59 games to 29 homers in 162 games while his batting average slipped a dozen points from .259 to.247.

Olson’s 2019 season seems to have quelled the doubters. He missed more than seven weeks (35 games) at the season’s start after suffering a hamate injury during the season-opening series in Japan, but came back to hammer the ball, including career-bests with 36 homers and 91 RBI.

And with some fantasy platforms optimistic that things will get going, he’s going from a top 15 first baseman last year to a top five pick this time around.

The fantasy gurus at Sports Illustrated see him as perhaps the fourth-best first base fantasy pick. They aren’t alone. The Sporting News, FanGraphs, Yahoo and FanTrax all have Olson among their top five first basemen.

The fact is that Olson has morphed from a wanna-be to a breakout star. Manager Bob Melvin went so far to say in February that Olson would have earned consideration for the American League Most Valuable Player honor last year had he played the full season.

As it was, Olson, who had played in all 162 games in 2018, went from getting injured on March 21 to not playing again until May 7. He immediate went without a homer for five games. But he went deep on May 12, hit seven homers total for the month, and then went on to show he hadn’t lost any of the power in his swing.

And his durability isn’t in question, even after the long stint on the injured list. He was given the final regular season game off before the playoffs, but basically played every day from May 7 on.

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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