In an Era Where the Productivity of First Basemen is Tailing off, Athletics Olson an Exception

With 69 homers and two Gold Gloves in his possession since the start of the 2018 season, the Oakland Athletics’ Matt Olson stands out at a first base position where overall productivity is down
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Oakland A’s fans tend to think that A’s first baseman Matt Olson is special.

There are reasons for that. He missed six weeks of the season last year but still finished with 36 homers. He’s won back-to-back Gold Glove for his work around the first base bag. He began the 2020 season with a walkoff 10th-inning grand slam.

And now Sports Illustrated baseball writer Tom Verducci has come up with another reason. In a look at Major League first baseman this week, Verducci talks about the falloff in production and significance of first baseman across both the American and National leagues.

First baseman don’t get much love in Most Valuable Player voting any more. Verducci notes that while the position’s old guard has aged, Olson is one of the new breed to show real game. He lists the Mets’ Pete Alonso, the Royals’ Ryan O’Hearn and the Rangers’ Ronald Guzman along with Olson as the only first baseman 25 and under last year 20 or more homers.

For their part, the A’s see Olson as one of the linchpins of the organization. He hit three homers over two days against the Rangers Wednesday and Thursday as part of the eight-game winning streak the A’s bring into Sunday’s game with the Astros, although he’s struggled mightily at season’s start, going hitless in the first two games against Houston as his batting average has fallen to .157.

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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