Three Braves have already been revealed on MLB Network’s Top 100 players list. Sean Murphy was the first member of the team to be announced; Spencer Strider made his debut on the list, and Rookie of the Year Michael Harris II clocked in as the no. 53 ranked player. Next, we have Matt Olson, who didn’t have the most spectacular first season with the Braves. In last year’s list, Olson was the no. 26 ranked player; he fell nearly 20 spots in 2023. It’s not a secret as to why either.
The Braves traded for a player that posted 39 home runs and 5.1 fWAR but only received a fraction of that. Olson, by all accounts, disappointed in his first season in Atlanta, which is crazy to say for a guy that posted 44 doubles, 34 home runs, a team-leading 103 RBIs, and .802 OPS. But he replaced the greatest first basemen in franchise history, and all Freddie Freeman did for the Dodgers was turn in the best season of his career, accruing 7.1 fWAR.
Still, there is plenty to be optimistic about for Braves Country and Matt Olson.
The Georgia native will be one season removed from the dreadful first of replacing a franchise legend. His strikeout rate jumped 8% from 2021, and his walk rate fell by 3%. That would tell me he was pressing.
The shift ban will result in an uptick in his numbers; Olson’s 47 hits lost to the shift since 2020 ranks 3rd in the league, which would have improved his average from .250 to .288 over that period.
Olson was also one of the few Braves that didn’t fold in the postseason. He went 13-for-37 with six homers over the final ten games and then continued the tear against the Phillies, going 4-for-12 with two home runs.
Nobody should be surprised if Olson sniffs a .900 OPS, 40 home runs, and 5.0 fWAR in the 2023 season. I’m expecting a huge second season in Atlanta for Matt Olson and a substantial rise up next year’s MLB top 100 players list.
Photographer: Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire
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