Before last night, Chicago Cubs third base prospect Mike Olt had shown progress from last season, which was slow and steady. The improvements he showed against the Seattle Mariners last night seemed fast and furious.
The power hitter, who the Cubs acquired in the trade that sent pitcher Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers last season, had just one home run this spring training before last night. In the contest last night alone, he had two. After vision problems derailed his season a year ago, Olt appears to have laser-sharp focus going into 2014. There’s no doubt that focus is aimed at making the Cubs’ 25-man Opening Day roster.
Since the Cubs need to know where they want to shift all of their infield prospects, Olt should have the upper hand on the starting third base job as long as he continues to show progress. After a luke warm start to his spring, the Cubs are likely excited that Olt finally showed how much his hard work is paying off.
Other players such as Luis Valbuena and Donnie Murphy will try to prove worthy of the starting third base job, but the organization should be rooting for Olt to claim the spot. While they’re solid players, the club knows what they’re getting in Valbuena and Murphy and it’s two average players. Olt on the other hand, has a ceiling that hasn’t been reached yet. He has more potential and could fit into the team’s future plans. Having already played extensively in Triple-A, the Cubs know that his time to get a shot in the big leagues is here.
Even though it’s only one game, Olt finally displayed his plus power and may have pushed himself that much closer to a roster spot when the Cubs break camp later this month. With several prospects waiting in the wings, it’s Olt’s time to shine, ready or not. If last night’s game is any indication, he’s ready.