Comparisons. 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.
|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|
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.
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.)
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.
|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|
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.