Athletics

Olson named Silver Slugger finalist for AL first basemen

Athletics
Matt Olson

When looking for a silver lining from a disappointing Athletics' 2021 MLB season, Matt Olson shined brightest. On Monday, Oakland's first baseman took one step closer to earning the recognition he deserves.

Olson has been named a finalist for the AL Silver Slugger award at first base. He's joined by Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel. 

Olson, 27, was named an All-Star for the first time this season. He had a career-year across the board, with career bests in batting average (.271), on-base percentage (.371), OPS (.911), home runs (39), doubles (35), RBI (111) and runs (101). Olson always has had power but he became a much more complete hitter this season. 

Last year, he hit just .195 with a .310 on-base percentage in the pandemic-shortened 60-game season. He struck out 77 times, or in 31.4 percent of his at-bats. This year, that number went down to 16.8 percent -- the lowest since his rookie year. 

Olson's 39 home runs were the second-most by any first baseman in all of baseball. The problem is, Vlad Jr. led the way with 48. He and Olson were tied in the RBI department but the Blue Jays star bested him in all other categories. 

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Though Olson likely will not win the award, he earned being a finalist and could do the same when Gold Glove finalists are announced. 

The winners of the Silver Slugger award will be named on Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. PT.