It's amazing how much difference a year can make, especially in pro sports. In 2012, Mike Olt was an untouchable up-and-coming third base power prospect for the Texas Rangers when he hit .288 with 28 home runs and drove in 82 runs at Double-A Frisco.
Post-hyper now a sleeper
Fast forward a year to 2013. Olt dealt with vision problems all season and dipped to .213 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs in 230 at-bats with Triple-A Round Rock. The Chicago Cubs saw their chance to acquire him and did so. He ended the year hitting .168 with three dingers in 131 at-bats at Triple-A Iowa.
Now it's 2014. Olt is a forgotten man, a post-hype prospect, if you will. His vision problems are no longer an issue. He said he knew from the first batting practice pitch of spring training that his eyes were fixed. Heck, I believe him; he's hitting .273 with five long balls and 12 RBIs this spring in 55 at-bats.
So why did the Rangers give up on one of their top prospects so easily? They just didn't have the room, and they couldn't justify giving him a spot on the roster last year because of his struggles at the plate. Remember, they were still trying to find time for their top prospect, Jurickson Profar, at the time, and Ian Kinsler was in the way.
Olt has made the Cubbies' opening day roster. That's a start. He definitely earned it with his spring performance. Luis Valbuena figures to see plenty of starts at the hot corner - and probably the majority of ABs there to start the season, at least - but Olt will make his case if he continues to hit.
His 2012 skills are intact. Olt can strike out in bunches, but that power, man, it's intriguing. I would have loved to have drafted him if I were in an NL-only league this year, but I'm not. Instead, he's at the top of my watch list to start the year, and I'm ready to pounce quickly.
I love Olt as a sleeper that I feel will wind up being owned in the majority of standard mixed leagues in 2014. Mark that down, folks.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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