Each A’s infielder gets a sense of confidence knowing their primary target is two-time Gold Glove Award winner first baseman Matt Olson.
Before he was scooping balls from Matt Chapman and Marcus Semien, however, Olson played more third base during his earlier years in the game. He detailed how that has improved his game in an interview with Sports Info Solutions.
“I don’t want to talk trash about my own position in a way, but third base is just harder,” he said. “There’s a lot more into it -- it is the hot corner, but not only do you have to make the stop, you have to make good throws. In a way, it prepared me for making the stop and moving over to first base, you just get a lot more time and don’t have to make as good of a throw.”
Olson said moving over to the other side of the diamond took off a little more difficulty from his previous job. But he’s one of the top first basemen in the league for scooping throws -- a technique he mastered rather quickly.
“I’ve always kind of been a guy who likes to work one-handed, and I’d probably say back-hand in particular, so I just kind of have had that natural working through it -- it’s the best way I know how to explain it.”
Whatever it is, it’s working -- and the guys he catches have a spike in confidence knowing whatever they throw at Olson, literally and figuratively, he’ll get the job done.
A’s third baseman, and two-time Platinum Glove Award winner Chapman spoke to NBC Sports California back in January about how well the two work together. The easy chemistry is strengthened by years of being on the same page -- something they’ve never struggled with having to perfect.
“It gives me the confidence to just try and chuck balls over there because he can make so many good plays,” Chapman told us.
The numbers also speak for themselves as Olson led first basemen in 2019 with 18 defensive runs saved, and while he doesn’t go far down the rabbit hole of those stats, he knew his numbers were good in that department.