Will Mike Olt be the starting third baseman for the Chicago White Sox in 2016?
A few years back, Olt was a once highly touted prospect for the Texas Rangers. He boasted plus power (28 home runs in ’12-minor leagues), not to mention a solid glove with one glaring weakness-strikeouts. In 2014, Olt was dealt to the Chicago Cubs, who were stacked at virtually every position on the field (prospect wise). Due to that issue, Olt was recently put on waivers, and was picked up by the Cubs crosstown rival, the Chicago White Sox.
Olt just may be in the exact opposite position with the White Sox that he was with the Cubs. Due to how loaded the Cubs are all over the field, it was hard for him to get on to the field. Meanwhile, on the South Side, there is little to no talent at the hot corner. Heading into the 2014 season, the White Sox acquired Matt Davidson, who was supposed to be the third baseman of the future. Davidson has not worked out, due to the fact that he has struggled making contact. Additionally, his defense has had its issues at times.
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Here is the main reason why Mike Olt may end up battling it out with whomever the Chicago White Sox keep around, or bring in from another organization (outside of depth issues in the White Sox organization). Anytime a third baseman can hit for above average power it is a positive, not to mention he has the potential to bring an above average glove. Considering the fact that a good third baseman is very difficult to find, anytime a team has any shot to get a good one they have to give him every chance to succeed. If Olt ends up failing, then the White Sox should move on. Just a couple of years ago, Olt was a top 25 prospect in all of baseball. Does that mean he will pan out in the majors? Not necessarily, but it still makes it worthwhile to give him a shot.
My concern long term with Olt is that he will struggle to make enough contact. If Olt doesn’t make consistent contact, it will be hard for him to be productive regardless of his other skills. In 2014 with the Cubs, Olt struck out 100 times in 225 at bats. Assuming this doesn’t improve, there is no way Olt will stick around at the big league level. Even if Olt hits 30 home runs plus, he cannot be striking out at a near 50% clip.
While Olt has a long way to go in a lot of areas, it is a possibility that he could become a starting third baseman on a major league team someday, perhaps even with the Chicago White Sox.