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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