Mike Olt and Vision Could Alter Big Picture for Cubs

Mike Olt and Vision Could Alter Big Picture for Cubs

A lot of the early focus in Cubs camp has centered on Mike Olt and his eyes.

There is good reason for that.

See, (no pun intended) if Olt has indeed overcome vision problems that have plagued him over the past two years, the overall picture for the Cubs future becomes much brighter.

The "Core Four" as they are now calling them (Javy Baez, Kris Bryant, Albert Almora, and Jorge Soler) are usually the names mentioned in connection with an organizational turnaround.

However, nothing may turn things around quicker than an Olt rebound. No one else this spring could affect the speed and scope of the rebuild quite like Olt. There are a lot of ifs involved here so bear with me.

Imagine if both Olt and Starlin Castro have strong springs. It could set things up for quite an interesting summer. Especially if Baez pushes his way to Chicago by midseason as most suspect.

Baez could shift to second base, and the Cubs would have themselves a young, dynamic infield. That scenario that would create an ideal logjam in the middle infield if Arismendy Alcantara also keeps developing.

We all know by now the dominos-like affect Olt can have on future rosters.

The Cubs front office may have ample flexibility to both trade for pitching from a position of strength and also have positional flexibility. Olt holding down the hot corner would allow them to move big bat Bryant to a corner outfield spot.

There is no reason to move Bryant off of third base anytime soon. Yet, if healthy, there is little doubt Olt is the better third baseman. A scout I spoke to today likens Olt to a "David Wright lite type." He also says Olt has the potential to be a perennial 25 home run hitter with gold glove capabilities.

Olt led the Double-A Texas League with 28 home runs and a .579 Slugging percentage in 2012. He was one of the top prospects in all of baseball until he got hit in the head during winter ball.

He struggled with his vision after and posted a .201/.202/.381 Line in AAA. He somehow managed to maintain his eye at the plate, (13 percent walk rate) but his power mumblers dropped significantly (15 hr).

Olt recently told ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers that his vision issues are a thing of the past. He says he is OK with people asking about his vision, and how he is seeing the ball.

“I don’t mind answering that anymore,” Olt says. “Last year was so stressful because we didn’t know what was going on. I don’t mind answering that this year because I’m better.”

With a better Olt, Cubs fans get something worth watching this summer, while the front office sees a clearer vision of the Cubs future.


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Tags: Mike Olt


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  • What kind of performance this spring does the FO need to see from Olt to give him the starting 3b job ?

  • In reply to Rbirby:

    When Luis Valbuena is the high water mark I can't imagine Olt has to be all that impressive

  • In reply to Rbirby:

    I think as long as he I seeing ball well.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Not to mention if Olt doesnt start with the Cubs, theres not a ton of room in the minors with the likely move of Villanueva to AAA and Bryant to AA

  • Tom I like the possibility of Olt taking the 3B job and not letting go. 25 HRs a year with GG level glove would be very nice. Texas has to be kicking themselves right about now.

    Now if Olt has 3B and Castro has a monster bounce back year, could you see them putting Baez in LF temporarily? I agree with you Baez is probably going to force his way up around July and I see the Cubs FO wanting to put switch hitting Alcantara at 2B.

  • In reply to John57:

    That's not a bad idea moving Baez to LF temporarily. That would give them more time to make sure Castro will bounce back or what their next move will be. It would also allow them to keep Alcantara at 2B which is where his bat plays best.

  • In reply to John57:

    Some would think that's possible. Yet I think he has so much more value as an IF bat like that.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    It is just temporary. My gut feeling is after Castro has his bounce back year, he will be traded and Baez will take over SS. A cost controlled, 24 year old 2 time All-Star who is healthy will bring back significant value. But like WickitCub said it gives them more time to sort things out.

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    My understanding is that Murphbuena has the job and that Olt has to earn it. I can't imagine it'll take all that much for him to do so, as doing so provides much more clarity, as Tom laid out. And if they can lock up a solid young IF, that suddenly opens the door to trades. I'm sure much of the FO's reluctance to go after a big FA has to do with letting the natural selection process play out first.

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    I know this is all speculation but haven't they mentioned moving Alcantara to CF if Baez plays 2B. I know i have seen that mentioned by some scouts somewhere.

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    In reply to Chris Hart:

    I've not heard that but anything is possible. But given that Almora appears to be the real deal there, it seems unlikely that Arismendy could supplant him.

  • In reply to Chris Hart:

    Anything is possible, esp if Olt rebounds. Yet, many think Almora will be CF for years and years.

  • In reply to Chris Hart:

    I have not heard the FO saying that. Maybe someone was just speculating.

  • A "David Wright type?" I don't know who the scout was you talked to, Tom, but that's some serious praise right there. Olt has a perfect situation on this Cub team to succeed if his eyes are fixed for good. On Texas, the club had veteran talent and was blocked at 3B. The Cubs are loaded with guys his age and all he has to do is take out Slappy Valbuena and Super Murph to earn a spot. His confidence must be building every day.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    I wouldn't read too much into the Wright lire comp. Vogelbach was getting Fielder Lite comps and Alcantara was getting Rollins lite comps.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Yeah, I think he's saying the ceiling is there with his glove and bat combo.

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