Even after Matt Olson returned from his hand injury, there was concern his power might not show up for a little while.
Olson fractured the hamate bone in his right hand during the A's second game of the season and had to have it surgically removed. While it's a fairly common baseball injury, and the recovery time is typically not excessive, we have seen mixed results when it comes to power hitting upon a player's return.
Olson has alleviated those worries quickly, blasting three home runs in his last four games, including an opposite-field shot in Thursday's win at Detroit.
"It's probably not fully there right now, but it's definitely strong enough," Olson said when he first returned. "It's good. I don't think it's affecting my swing."
That is great news for the A's, who clearly missed Olson during his 34-game absence. The team went 15-19 without him, struggling to replace that left-handed power bat in the lineup.
Last season, Olson slashed .247/.335/.453 with 29 home runs and 84 RBI. His 2017 rookie campaign was even more impressive, as he exploded for 24 homers in just 59 games, a pace of 66 round-trippers over 162 games.
Olson probably has the most natural power of anyone on the A's roster. He puts on a daily display in batting practice, crushing balls close to 500 feet with regularity.
On September 15, 2017, Olson annihilated a ball 483 feet, Oakland's longest home run during the Statcast era. He also owns the A's third-longest homer, a 475-foot moonshot in May of 2018.
For as many home runs as the A's can hit, Olson represents the lone left-handed power threat in the lineup. His bat breaks up the long run of right-handers, from Matt Chapman and Khris Davis to Stephen Piscotty and Mark Canha or Chad Pinder.
Of course, Olson's glove might be even more valuable than his bat. The 2018 Gold Glove Award winner is one of the best scoopers at first base in all of baseball and saves countless throwing errors for his fellow infielders.