Chicago Cubs general manger Jed Hoyer announced on Thursday that third baseman Mike Olt has made the Cubs opening day roster. Olt, 25, was acquired by the Cubs from the Texas Rangers last July in the package for Matt Garza. MLB.com had Olt ranked as the 14th prospect in the Cubs system.
Although a 14th ranked prospect doesn’t seem like much to be excited about, Olt has a lot of potential. In 2012, the Cubs tried to acquire Olt from the Rangers but at that point, he was untouchable. Heading into the 2013 season, MLB.com ranked Olt as a top 20 prospect in all of baseball. But his stock really decreased last year with an awful season due to concussion and vision problems and the Cubs were able to get him in the Garza deal.
After an offseason of receiving medical attention, it appears Olt’s vision problems are behind him and he is back to his normal self, which is great news for the Cubs. Olt dealt with a shoulder injury this spring that forced him to DH for much of the Cactus League season. Thankfully, the injury did not effect him at the plate as he hit five home runs and drove in 12 RBIs.
Olt’s chances of making the roster improved on Wednesday when the Cubs dealt infielder Donnie Murphy to the Rangers. Now he will have to prove that his shoulder is healthy enough to start every day at the hot corner. When he is healthy, Olt is considered to be an above average fielder with a strong arm. At the plate, Olt brings great power and discipline. He will draw his fair share or walks but also strike out quite a bit. An average around .260-.280 with around 25 HRs should be a reasonable expectation for Olt, if he stays in the majors the whole year.
He may not be Javier Baez or Kris Bryant but seeing Olt win a roster spot out of spring training after a dismal 2013 season is a very encouraging sign. Olt could be one bright spot in another losing season for the Cubs in 2014.