Mike Olt was ranked among the top-30 prospects in all of baseball by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com prior to last season, but he battled vision issues early on and finished with a dismal slash-line of .201/.303/.381 along with 15 home runs and 42 RBI over 432 combined plate appearances in the minor leagues.
The Texas Rangers traded Olt to the Chicago Cubs as part of the Matt Garza deal last July, and despite a poor showing at Triple-A Iowa (.168 with three home runs and eight RBI over 131 at-bats) he has been considered a candidate to be the team’s starting third baseman throughout the offseason. Shoulder soreness has limited him so far this spring, but Olt is reportedly close to playing third base and at that point he could make a late push to be Chicago’s Opening Day starter.
Should fantasy baseball owners that still have a draft or two coming have Olt on their radar?
Olt could wind up starting the season at Triple-A with the limited amount of spring training action he has seen, but if he is healthy and starts strongly he may not be there for long. Simply put, the other options the Cubs have at third base right now (Luis Valbuena, Ryan Roberts, Donnie Murphy) are not good enough to keep him out of the lineup if all things are equal.
Shy of being declared full healthy and then being anointed Chicago’s starting third baseman between now and Opening Day, Olt will not be an option in mixed league drafts. But his power potential (28 home runs at Double-A Frisco in 2012) is enough to garner attention from owners in NL-only leagues and he is still a great option in keeper leagues.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.