A’s 2019 Projections: Matt Olson Brings More Power to Oakland

[CSNBY] A's 2019 projections: Matt Olson brings more power to Oakland
Ben Ross

Editor's note: Over the next few weeks, NBC Sports California will be analyzing a different A's player each day to project their numbers for next season.

Matt Olson quietly had one of the best seasons of any American League first baseman in 2018.

The 24-year-old played in all 162 games, slashing .247/.335/.453 with 29 home runs and 84 RBI. He was also exquisite defensively, winning a Gold Glove in his first full major league season.

Olson burst onto the scene in 2017, blasting 24 homers in just 59 games as a rookie with an OPS of 1.003. While he came back to earth a bit in 2018, he still displayed tremendous natural power, crushing home runs of 475, 456, and 454 feet.

Olson ranked near the top of the league in exit velocity and launch angle, suggesting he will continue to put up big power numbers next year. While he struck out 163 times, he also drew 70 walks, tied for 13th-most in the American League.

Baseball-Reference projects Olson to hit .250/.339/.477 with 28 home runs and 75 RBI next season, which would be similar to his production in 2018. Olson has excellent plate discipline, but his long swing has caused his high strikeout and pop-up totals. The key will be trying to increase his contact percentage while maintaining his power.

Defesnively, Olson is one of the best first basemen in all of baseball. At 6-foot-6, he provides a huge target for his fellow infielders and he has saved countless errors with effortless scoops and picks on errant throws. He will certainly be in the running for another Gold Glove next season.

Offensively, we expect Olson to surpass 30 home runs and flirt with 100 RBI, while raising his batting average from last year. If he stays healthy, it could be a breakout season for the A's first baseman.

Projection: .258/.351/.494, 34 HR, 97 RBI

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