Athletics

Why Olson is ranked too low on MLBN's top first basemen list

Athletics

MLB Network is putting out the lists of the top 10 players at each position, and well -- Matt Olson was placed at No. 8 in the first basemen category, which seems a bit low.

The show itself acknowledged Olson led all first basemen in the league in DRS (defensive runs saved) since 2018 with 36. Right behind him is Giants’ first baseman Brandon Belt with 18.  

Quite the gap. 

It’s possible Olson's .195 batting average in 2020 was a culprit that played into a low spot on the list, but at the end of the day, he had 14 homers, 42 RBI and was in contention for his third consecutive Gold Glove Award. His defense in 2020, as he told NBC Sports California in December, was “nothing short of anything” he’s played in the past.

Olson did however admit he had an awful year at the plate.

“Sure, I ran into a few home runs, and I guess when I did, had guys on base to get some RBI," Olson said.

Olson also credited the short season adding to how it impacted his swing in his age-26 season. 

MLB Network even said he was the best defensive player at first base with the second-best defensive WAR over the last two seasons (4.7).

And yet, still No. 8.

RELATED: Why Dodgers reportedly are eying Semien to play third base

From what it appears, there are many factors that go into this list, and it’s not a category on Baseball Reference or FanGraphs -- so we can relax a bit on that. Still, I think we can all agree you can’t defy someone as being the best defensive first basemen in the game and have him near the end of the group, even despite his down offensive season in 2020.

 

Nope, No. 8 is just way too low. 

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