The Chicago Cubs haven’t given up on Mike Olt. His late stint at Triple-A may have helped to salvage their faith in him. But the plan has definitely changed. Theo Epstein has said the team will talk to Olt about learning the corner outfield positions, while still getting time at first and third base.
It’s very apparent how much of a power threat he can be, especially against left-handers. The key for Olt will be finding consistency, and cutting back on his strikeout totals. (100 K/225 AB in 2014)
"“He’s always a threat against left-handed pitching, so he can be a guy that covers the four corners and mashes left-handed pitching,” Epstein said.“That’s a nice default for him if the opportunity to play every day doesn’t materialize.” H/T Jesse Rogers, ESPNChicago.com"
After earning the starting job out of spring training, Olt showed his power potential, but that was about all. As the season went on, his strikeouts were on the rise, and his average dipped. He was hitting only .139 when he was sent down to Iowa in July.
After spending about a month at Triple-A, Olt thinks he figured it out, and his final month with the Cubs seemed to show as much. He hit .263, with an on base percentage of .370. Much improved from the .222 prior to being sent down. He knows quite well, being sent down helped.
"“It did,” Olt said. “And secretly in my head I knew something needed to happen. I needed to figure some things out. I knew I wasn’t right.”"
When the 2014 season began, Olt had the upper hand on the third base position. But after a rough campaign, and a slew of infielders in the system behind him, he’ll be starting again from scratch. The positive for him is that Epstein and Co. don’t believe in reserves simply being able to field the position they play. They want a power bat to fill in for a power bat. Olt’s ability to learn, and play multiple positions can help give him the opportunity to stick around next year.
Olt watched Chris Coghlan start from the minors this year, only to end up a key piece of this Cubs team. That possibility still is there for him.
"“This has been a good thing for me,” Olt said. “Deal with adversity early on in my career. You just have to be ready for anything."