Mike Olt Stakes Claim for Starting Spot on Chicago Cubs
Third baseman Mike Olt came into Spring Training simply trying to get a roster spot on the Chicago Cubs. The young phenom hit well enough that it seems the Cubs would be unwise to leave him off their 25-man list, but what role Olt would play has still been largely a mystery.
That mystery deepened the other day when Olt made two errors in the same inning while playing third base. If Chicago has a spot for him on the roster, it will be at the hot-corner.
Since that game, in which the youngster said he was embarrassed of his own play, he’s been swinging the bat and slinging the leather like a man possessed. With less than a week to go until the Cubs break camp, it’s almost a surety that he will be among those 25 playing on the North Side of Chi-town.
His near flawless play on Tuesday afternoon at third should go to show the Cubs’ brass he deserves to be named the starter on opening day. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been talking about a kind of rotating platoon with Olt, Luis Valbuena and Donnie Murphy moving around second and third base.
The man who was once considered a top-30 prospect is looking like that top 30-prospect again both in the field and at the plate. His vision problems are gone and his power and defensive ability have returned.
It would be a disservice if the Cubs forced their young up-and-comer to platoon with a couple of veterans who are decent bench fodder, but shouldn’t be everyday players. A platoon might sound attractive in Chicago, especially considering what Murphy did last year in a shortened stint with the Cubs.
The reality is, Oit needs at-bats every day. The upside is he can get those at-bats at a position the Chicago Cubs desperately need an everyday player. Olt has staked his claim, now it’s time to sink or swim.