The Disappearance of Mike Olt

**ORIGINAL POSTED DATE 9/01/12**

When Mike Olt was called up to the majors in early August it caused fans to celebrate as they had been hoping to see the power hitting prospect stay with the team and not be traded. It also meant that he could platoon at first base with Mitch Moreland and maybe even be the DH and give Michael Young some well needed rest.

When he got his first big league hit in his first at-bat you could all Rangers fans cheering and Twitter blew up like crazy. It was the beginning of a legend. Or at least it felt like it. That’s when something strange happened. Manager Ron Washington said that Olt would not be the designated hitter any time soon because he was “too young”. This was a confusing statement. Basically Washington was saying that he’s perfectly capable of being on the field all game making defensive plays and constantly staying on his toes but too sit on the bench and just be asked to hit is too much for him? No. There was much more to this. This was Ron Washington’s way of saying that he was sticking with a struggling Michael Young and there was nothing he was going to do about it.  

Or could it be that Wash noticed something more; the fact that Olt isn’t ready to face big league pitching. Olt was hitting .294 against righties and .272 against lefties while in double-A Frisco this year. So far in the majors he is hitting .083 against righties and .231 against lefties. Now you could also argue that he’s only 25 at-bats thus making it a small sample size but think about the fact that he only has four hits in those 25. Only one hit (a double) was for extra bases. He’s also struck out nine times. 

I am of the belief that Olt needs more at-bats against big league pitching but I don’t think he’ll get too many chances with September here and Texas in a close pennant race with the Oakland A’s. Ron Washington is well aware, as we all are, of Michael Young’s struggles this season but he doesn’t want to take a veteran bat out of the lineup at this point even if it can be a detriment to the team at times. 


Hopefully we’ll see more Olt sometime soon as he deserves more chances at the plate. Until then I’m putting in a call to the spirit of Robert Stack in the hopes that “Unsolved Mysteries” can help me figure this out.
As always I would like to thank the fine folks at baseball-reference.com and Baseball America for the stats they supply.
James Holland is a Senior Columnist for Shut Down Inning. He can be reached at James.Holland@shutdowninning.com or @SDIJamesHolland on Twitter.
James Holland

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