Cubs Mike Olt: Is he Mark Reynolds Jr. with a Better Glove? Or someone else?

Olt2Comparisons. Everyone makes them to distill down an idea or a thought or a person, God forbid (stereotypes), to its simplest form or characteristic. We (humans) do this to survive. Else, sensory overload, the mainframe (our minds) would get bogged down in the endless minutia of figuring out the ways something is similar; and the ways in which they are different. Luckily, baseball generally has no qualms with generalizations if they help one get to method of valuing a guy. So, we got the present case.

Mike Olt came over in a 4-for-1 trade of Matt Garza, call it, “The Swap Meet Opens in June Plan” the Cubs have done to their pitching staff in the prior two years. And likely this year with Samardzija, Hamel, and anyone they deem superfluous to their long-term ideas.

Olt’s short MLB career has proved one thing: if he does make decent contact, look out. 2 recent homers hit in the bandbox called “The Cell,” one of which emptied the seats of the prison quicker than Tom Cruise can fill them for his next Mission Impossible: Operation Ghost AARP.

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP Pos
2012 23 TEX 16 40 33 2 5 1 0 0 5 5 13 .152 .250 .182 .432 18 6 1 0 /359
2014 25 CHC 28 85 76 9 14 1 0 6 16 6 28 .184 .259 .434 .693 86 33 2 2 5/D3
2 Yrs 44 125 109 11 19 2 0 6 21 11 41 .174 .256 .358 .614 64 39 3 2
162 Game Avg. 162 460 401 41 70 7 0 22 77 41 151 .174 .256 .358 .614 64 144 11 7
TEX (1 yr) 16 40 33 2 5 1 0 0 5 5 13 .152 .250 .182 .432 18 6 1 0
CHC (1 yr) 28 85 76 9 14 1 0 6 16 6 28 .184 .259 .434 .693 86 33 2 2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/9/2014.

Olt’s short MLB career too has shown he can’t be expected to make much contact aside from that, especially on breaking and off-speed pitches, the bane of many a short-lived shots in the show.  But he’s patient by their estimation. As Brooks Baseball calls it:

Against All Fastballs (248 seen), he has had a league average eye (0.93 d’; 61% swing rate at pitches in the zone vs. 26% swing rate at pitches out of the zone) and a patient approach at the plate (0.19 c) with an above average likelihood to swing and miss (20% whiff/swing).
Against Breaking Pitches (105 seen), he has had a poor eye (0.54 d’; 54% swing rate at pitches in the zone vs. 33% swing rate at pitches out of the zone) and a patient approach at the plate (0.18 c) with an above average likelihood to swing and miss (37% whiff/swing).
Against Offspeed Pitches (49 seen), he has had a poor eye (0.71 d’; 75% swing rate at pitches in the zone vs. 48% swing rate at pitches out of the zone) and a steady approach at the plate (-0.32 c) with an exceptionally high likelihood to swing and miss (54% whiff/swing).

Here is his heat map against RHP.

mike olt RH His results for both 2012 and 2014 seasons combined. One thing consistent: high ball hitting RH who can hit a ball on the screws right down broadway (see below).  So he’s got that.

RH pitchers that go inside have not been very successful (see above, the picture – notice the RH pitcher’s finish – very similar too in both). Lefties that are throwing soft stuff down (heat map not shown, but looked at) get burned going down and inside with an ultra small sample size. In fact, all of this is discussing a small sample for heat maps analysis. Weaknesses: well A LOT. Pitch him on the outer third down around his knees…nothing much will be done – weak singles and missing the ball.

For comparison’s sake, I pulled up Mark Reynolds, post-2010, which is about what Olt can plausibly be compared to, to date. (Pictured well below is their whiffs per swing: I can’t foresee a 2008-2009 Mark Reynolds in him – but hey, the Cubs have nothing to lose in the moment on it. He certainly has shown power.)

 

OLT

mike olt LH

 

There are slight similarities – but I probably could find lots of players that would mirror. Both whiff alot on low-outside pitches. A key difference, so far, Olt is a bit more selective on whiffs at strike-zone level. Reynolds misses less in the DEAD RED area down the pipe (22.71% Reynolds to 31.58% for Olt.) Both miss balls up too.

Nevertheless, Olt seems to be a poor man’s Mark-Reynolds comp. If the Cubs could get 85% of Reynolds power, but likely, 105% of the K-rate, Olt is useful as a stop gap starter at 3rd base and 1st base relief – as Rizzo might need to get some breaks.

 

 

 

 

Year Age Tm G PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB HBP Pos
2007 23 ARI 111 414 366 102 20 4 17 62 0 37 129 .279 .349 .495 .843 109 181 5 5/49
2008 24 ARI 152 613 539 129 28 3 28 97 11 64 204 .239 .320 .458 .779 96 247 3 *5/3
2009 25 ARI 155 662 578 150 30 1 44 102 24 76 223 .260 .349 .543 .892 127 314 5 *53
2010 26 ARI 145 596 499 99 17 2 32 85 7 83 211 .198 .320 .433 .753 97 216 9 *5/3
2011 27 BAL 155 620 534 118 27 1 37 86 6 75 196 .221 .323 .483 .806 116 258 7 *53
2012 28 BAL 135 538 457 101 26 0 23 69 1 73 159 .221 .335 .429 .763 107 196 6 35D
2013 29 TOT 135 504 445 98 14 0 21 67 3 51 154 .220 .306 .393 .699 96 175 5 35D/4
2013 29 CLE 99 384 335 72 8 0 15 48 3 43 123 .215 .307 .373 .680 94 125 3 35D
2013 29 NYY 36 120 110 26 6 0 6 19 0 8 31 .236 .300 .455 .755 105 50 2 35/4
2014 30 MIL 25 101 90 20 3 0 7 12 2 10 36 .222 .297 .489 .786 112 44 0 3/59
8 Yrs 1013 4048 3508 817 165 11 209 580 54 469 1312 .233 .328 .465 .793 108 1631 40
162 Game Avg. 162 647 561 131 26 2 33 93 9 75 210 .233 .328 .465 .793 108 261 6
ARI (4 yrs) 563 2285 1982 480 95 10 121 346 42 260 767 .242 .334 .483 .817 108 958 22
BAL (2 yrs) 290 1158 991 219 53 1 60 155 7 148 355 .221 .328 .458 .786 112 454 13
CLE (1 yr) 99 384 335 72 8 0 15 48 3 43 123 .215 .307 .373 .680 94 125 3
NYY (1 yr) 36 120 110 26 6 0 6 19 0 8 31 .236 .300 .455 .755 105 50 2
MIL (1 yr) 25 101 90 20 3 0 7 12 2 10 36 .222 .297 .489 .786 112 44 0
AL (3 yrs) 425 1662 1436 317 67 1 81 222 10 199 509 .221 .321 .438 .759 107 629 18
NL (5 yrs) 588 2386 2072 500 98 10 128 358 44 270 803 .241 .332 .484 .816 108 1002 22
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/9/2014.

One can likely find lots more players to compare favorably to, if one looks hard enough. Hopefully, for Olt’s sake, he gets opportunities best suited to his skill sets.

reynolds_lh_rholt_lh_rh

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