Batter’s Box: Olson Twins

Jim Chatterton explores the best hitting performances from yesterday and Matt Olson's scorching hot June.

It’s always a full house with Oakland’s 1B/DH style sluggers and Oakland is plenty close to San Francisco to make this comparison worthwhile. Matt Olson might not have Jesse’s hair but he has Danny’s height and the Olsen twins’ last name. Who cares that it is spelled differently? Last night, however, there was a different pair of Olson twins in the Bay Area, as Olson went 3-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB. Both of his home runs were shots over 400 ft with an exit velocity over 105 MPH. This has been a theme for him in June as he spent April on the IL from an injury to his hand suffered on the second day of the season.

He returned in May but struggled a bit out of the gate, yet still provided plenty of power that Olson is so known for. However, this June is where he has broken out to another level of player we only saw during his absurd rookie campaign back in 2017. Not including last night’s powerful performance, he is slashing .253/.333/.560 in June. This is including his first three games of June where he went hitless. Without those three it’s more in line with that 2017; .291/.371/.646. He is hitting the ball much harder than he was in May despite him underperforming his expected stats by quite a bit that Month. In June, he has been much more in line with his expected stats but he still has been underperforming a bit. His plate discipline has been consistent month to month but he’s been making a bit more contact on pitches in the zone lately. Comparing this recent surge back to his 2017 performance, one part of his batted ball profile stands out. He is hitting many more line drives, yet his BABIP is still pretty low. Again, a bit of poor luck for Olson. This stretch has shown how great he can be, and I don’t see him slowing down much at all.

Let’s take a look at how the rest of the league fared at the plate yesterday.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (2B/SS/OF, Toronto Blue Jays)—2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. Gurriel started the season off on such a weak foot that he was optioned to AAA in mid-April. Once recalled near the end of May, Gurriel has been a completely different person. Since the recall, he has been on an offensive barrage, slashing .347/.385/.727 not including yesterday games. He has a six-game multi-hit streak currently going as well. He has kept hitting the ball hard and in the air since this past month driving his success.

Chance Sisco (C, Baltimore Orioles)—3-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, 5 RBI. Sisco has been splitting time with Pedro Severino this past month adding his third homer and five more RBIs. Sisco is prone to the strikeout but he’s been walking a good amount as well. Good catchers are few and far between but a good catcher that plays enough is what a fantasy team really needs. Sisco just doesn’t play enough to warrant a spot yet.

Anthony Santander (OF, Baltimore Orioles)—3-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, BB. Santander is a young outfielder who has gotten solid playing time throughout June. He’s gone through some lengthy hitless streaks already, but he’s had a strong last week. Santander doesn’t hit the ball all that hard but his specialty is contact. He has great contact for a rookie striking out only 17.3% of the time so far this season. The weak contact though is an issue as many of his hits have been decently lucky. Unless he starts showing more power, Santander can remain on waivers.

Joey Votto (1B, Cincinnati Reds)—4-4, 2 R, RBI, BB, SB. Is Votto back to being good again? I don’t like this world of baseball where Votto strikes out and has no power. Votto had a nice burst of baseball energy at the end of May but for June he looks back to his business. He’s still walking his usual amount but still strikes out over 20%. He is still making way less contact out of the zone but at least he is laying off those pitches more.

Brian Anderson (3B/OF, Miami Marlins)—2-4, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI. What seemed to be the only bright spot for the Marlins last year, Anderson has not been as special this year. However, he’s hitting the ball harder than last year and is getting the ball in the air more too. His June has been interesting as he’s hitting more homers and striking out less, but a lot of it is contributed to a better HR/FB. He’s getting softer contact and many more ground balls. It’s been a very lucky June for Anderson.

Austin Riley (3B/OF, Atlanta Braves)—2-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. Riley started off his career so hot, it’s hard to imagine that level continuing. His June has been a bit of a downer but he’s still shown plenty of skill. He is still hitting the ball hard over 40% of the time with a solid barrel rate. His frustrations stem from his plate discipline. He swings at almost everything and misses a ton of pitches too. Pitchers have been figuring him out a bit but he is a skilled rookie and will have plenty of power.

Nolan Arenado (3B, Colorado Rockies)—4-5, 2 R, HR, 2 2B, 2 RBI. It’s nice batting at Coors half your games but it’s way more than just Coors that has helped Arenado continue his success. He has cut his strikeout rate by about 5 percentage points as he is making better contact on pitches in and out of the zone. A great player getting better is always fun.

Alex Verdugo (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers)—2-4, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. Verdugo has kept his hot streak going as he barely strikes out. Since June 11th he has only struck out fives times. Mighty impressive for a rookie. He’s been batting at the front of the Dodgers lineup and not striking out gives him a ton of opportunity for runs and RBIs.

Max Muncy (1B/2B/3B, Los Angeles Dodgers)—2-4, R, HR, 5 RBI, BB. Another game in Coors for Muncy so another impressive day at the plate. As I said yesterday, he had been underperforming in June and he certainly is making up for that these last couple of games. Have fun with Muncy the rest of the way.

Miguel Sanó (1B/3B, Minnesota Twins)—2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB. Sano has not been living up to the kind of power he was showing off back in 2016 and 2017 as his strikeout rate got the better of him. He has been on and off the IL and back and forth from the minors over the last couple of years as he is trying to get his feet back under him. However, that strikeout rate keeps on climbing. More swings and less contact has contributed to this. Despite those struggles, he is hitting the ball as hard as he ever has, and in the air, so his power is not lost. Can he be worth it though? If he plays enough probably, he would be a bargain bin version of 2018 Gallo but that playing time just hasn’t been there.

Mark Canha (1B/OF, Oakland Athletics)—2-4, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. Canha has not had the most consistent playing time in June cycling through as an outfielder, first baseman, and DH for Oakland. I like his plate discipline as he nearly has a BB/K ratio of 1.00 with a strikeout rate under 20%, but he has not had enough playing time to be valuable for a fantasy team. And outside of his discipline, the rest of his hit tool has been mediocre. He won’t be worth an add and, if you still have him from the beginning of the year, its past time to drop him.

(Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire)

Jim Chatterton

Jim has written for Razzball and now is a part of the Pitcher List staff. He is a Villanova alum and an eternally optimistic Mets fan. He once struck out Rick Porcello in Little League.

4 responses to “Batter’s Box: Olson Twins”

  1. Chris says:

    Hey Jim, good stuff here. I’m wagering that Sisco and Severino are basically in a platoon. The O’s have faced a lot of lefties lately, but that’s about to change with 6 of their next 8 being against righties. I think the O’s are motivated to play him and will be expecting 5-6 starts over this weekend/next week!

    • Jim Chatterton says:

      I could see them giving more of a chance to Chance through out the year even if Severino is hitting well. If he’s going to play a good chunk of those starts it’ll be a good opportunity for him to show off and potentially take more playing time.

  2. Dave says:

    In 88 ABs against RHPs, Mark Canha has: 250 BA, 393 OB, 568 SLG, 961 OPS, 318 ISO. It’s too bad he doesn’t get more playing time.

    • Jim Chatterton says:

      Yeah seriously. Maybe give him more time than Grossman or Piscotty if an RHP is in if those guys are struggling.

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