Braves: Matt Olson might MLB’s most unlucky hitter this season

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Hangovers are real folks, and on the surface Matt Olson is having a Hall of Fame hangover following his career-best season in 2023 in which he broke a Braves franchise record for home runs, finishing with 54. However, surface-level numbers are often deceiving in the sport of baseball, and all signs point to Olson breaking out of his funk in a big way sooner rather than later.

Since a hot start to the season, Olson’s batting average has dipped below the Mendoza Line. He has just five hits in his last 54 at-bats, only one of which went for extra bases, and his last home run came on April 7th. This is a slump of epic proportions, yet his Baseball Savant page this year doesn’t look too different from what it looked like last season.

Olson’s hitting the ball as hard as anyone in baseball. His 94.8 MPH average exit velocity ranks in the 99th percentile, and his Hard-Hit% also ranks in the 99th percentile. Olson is even chasing fewer pitches than he was a year ago and whiffing less often.

There’s an old saying in baseball, “Hit the ball hard, and good things will happen.” That hasn’t been the case for Matt Olson so far in 2023, but that doesn’t mean the saying is a fallacy. Eventually, if Olson keeps smashing baseballs off the bat, the results are going to come.

There are some early season concerns that should have Braves fans feeling a little uneasy, but Matt Olson’s slow start is not one of them. This is the same guy that mashed 54 homers a season ago, and the batted ball profile from year to year is eerily similar. Luck just hasn’t been on his side so far in 2024, but that’s why you play 162 games. Eventually, everything evens out over such a long season.

Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire

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