30 Prospects in 30 Days: Mike Olt – 3B – Texas Rangers
Mike Olt was drafted out of the University of Connecticut by the Texas Rangers in the first round of the 2010 draft (#49 overall). Olt hits from the right side of the plate and comes with good size at 6’2” and 210 lbs.
Olt profiles as a guy with a lot of power potential, but, as so many power first guys do, he also profiles as a guy who is going to strikeout a lot. In just over 400 plate appearances in each year, Olt popped 27 homers between rookie ball and high-A in 2011 and 28 at AA last year. His strikeout rate was in the mid-twenties both years. The solid season at AA earned him a late season call-up last year, but it was clear Olt wasn’t ready as he struck out in roughly one-third of his big league plate appearances.
But there may be some hope that Olt’s strikeout rate will be respectable enough that he could turn out to be a poor man’s Jay Bruce as opposed to a rich man’s Mark Reynolds.
For starters, we obviously can’t judge Olt for what he did in the majors last year. It was his first taste of the bigs, and it always takes a little time to adjust. And it’s even tougher when the player hasn’t spent any time at AAA like Olt. The hope springs from Olt’s manageable strikeout rate of 24% between high-A and AA. There will be an adjustment period, but with enough time, he could probably get the strikeout rate down around that mark in the big leagues.
Hopefully Olt will get plenty of time to develop a little more at AAA. However, it’s not too hard to envision a scenario in which the Rangers bring him up sooner rather than later. They’re really short on bench players, especially in the infield. And Olt makes a lot of sense as a platoon partner with Mitch Moreland at first base. But Olt’s not ready, and hopefully the Rangers stay patient.
Where Olt ends up long-term is a guessing game, both in terms of the position he plays and the team he plays on. As it stands, Olt is blocked by Adrian Beltre at third base (where he would have more fantasy value). If he’s going to play for Texas in the next few years, most of his time will be spent at 1B or DH.
But Olt does have an average to above-average glove at 3B (he played SS in college). As a result, there’s a chance Olt gets moved and sticks at 3B with his new club. His name was thrown around when the Rangers were rumored to be looking into acquiring Justin Upton. His name came up when the Rangers were supposedly looking into R.A. Dickey. Apparently they “indicated” they would trade Olt for Dickey. When there’s smoke….
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