Matt Olson Giving Atlanta Braves Exactly what They Traded For

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OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 06: Matt Olson #28 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates after hitting a three-run home run in the top of the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum on September 06, 2022 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 06: Matt Olson #28 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates after hitting a three-run home run in the top of the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum on September 06, 2022 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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It’s been a rough stretch for Matt Olson, but when you start to look at his season as a whole, the Atlanta Braves haven’t gotten the player they traded for. 

A lot of Atlanta Braves fans probably aren’t going to agree with this, but when you compare the player Matt Olson has been in the past to the player we’ve seen in 2022 — the numbers are virtually the same.

In terms of the type of production the Braves traded for, they’re getting exactly what they thought they would get.

We can debate whether or not that type of production is better than what Freddie Freeman would have brought, or if it’s the type of production this team actually needs, but for the sake of this article — the Braves are getting the player they traded for.

Braves: Matt Olson by the Numbers

Looking at his Baseball Savant page, you won’t find many differences in what Matt Olson did in Oakland last year compared to this year in Atlanta.

The average exit velocity is 1 MPH higher, his average launch angle is the same, and his hard-hit% is 2 percent higher.

His 12.5 barrel% is the same as last year as is his 40.6 percent groundball%. There are actually more line drives and fewer flyballs and he’s hit the ball less to the opposite field but more to center field — his pull% is 1 percent less than 2021.

In terms of his batted ball profile, you can see that everything is pretty much the same as last season.

It’s really hard to explain why his batting average is 36 points lower than it was a year ago. Especially when considering the fact his .271 BABIP is two points higher than last year.

The only thing you can really point to is that his K% is up to 23.8 percent this year compared to just 16.8 percent last year. And his whiff% — particularly on fastballs — is up significantly.

If you’re putting the ball in play more there are more opportunities to get some hits. But the 16.8 percent K% from last year was an outlier in his career.

And while he does lead the Braves in walks, his BB% of 10.6 percent is down from 13.1 percent in 2021.

But again, that mostly accounts for his on-base percentage.

When he is putting the ball in play, he’s hitting the baseball just like he has his entire career and is racking up the extra-base hits with 42 doubles and 28 home runs that have attributed to his 91 RBI.

Taking out the averages (AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS) that are certainly lower than he or the team would want, he’s provided what he was acquired to do.

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There is some bad luck in those averages for sure and that’s part of the game. Matt Olson figures to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the shift going away next year.

But even as he goes through one of his roughest stretches of the year, Matt Olson has been who the Braves traded for this past offseason.

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