Given the Braves are on pace to challenge the record for most home runs by a team in a single season, a record held by the 2019 Twins with 307 long balls, they have several candidates that could be considered for the home run derby. We learned last week that Ronald Acuña would be passing on the opportunity after participating for the second time last year, and now we know another Brave will not be involved, Matt Olson.
Like Acuña, Olson was approached by Major League Baseball and offered a spot in the exhibition; however, he declined the opportunity.
MLB had interest in Matt Olson for the Home Run Derby. He politely declined. https://t.co/9t1GwHnSGB
— Justin Toscano (@JustinCToscano) July 2, 2023
Olson leads the National League in home runs with 28 and is second to only Shohei Ohtani, who has blasted 31 this season.
I would love to see any Braves player in action during the home run derby, but Olson’s reasoning for declining the invitation is more than reasonable. He’s been one of the hottest players in baseball over the last few weeks and is very happy with where his swing is at. He doesn’t want to risk anything potentially messing up his groove, and we’ve seen the home run derby have a negative impact on players in the past.
As a Braves fan, you have to appreciate where Olson’s priorities lie. This is a team on a historic pace, but regular season wins and home run derby trophies do not get you remembered. How the Braves perform this October is ultimately the only thing that matters.
Photographer: Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire