As one would have to expect, when the lineup for last nights lineup came out, and Mike Olt was not starting for the Chicago Cubs, fans started getting mad. Despite his being among the team leaders in both plate appearances and at bats, fans are not happy with the infrequency of his playing time. This is especially fun to see as I am not sure I have ever seen fans demand a player who is hitting .187 get more playing time. Those are usually the players Cub fans want to see less and less, just look at Darwin Barney. However, Barney does not have nearly as much raw power as Olt.
I get where fans are coming from with their complaints though. Olt has amazing power, and when he makes contact chances are the ball is going to go a long way. Fans want to see him get the chance to send the ball to the heavens more often that they think he gets. In an honest moment, I have to agree with those fans who want him starting every day. I have been looking forward to his being named the starting third baseman since the Cubs acquired him in the Matt Garza trade. But Rick Renteria is taking his time in giving Olt the everyday nod, because he does not feel he is quite ready yet, but that he is getting closer to that point.
Even though Olt has started well over half the games the Cubs have played, and has at very least appeared in all but a handful of them, a majority of fans want to see him starting every day at third base. Hard to blame them considering the player on the top of the list who would be taking his spot in the lineup, Barney. Even though his replacement last night at third base showed that Renteria's starting him over Olt was a good decision, Cub fans still would have rather seen Olt out there. Even though Valbuena hit a two run home run, some fans are of the belief that Olt might have also hit a home run had he faced Adam Wainwright last night as well. In fact, they both could have had Valbuena started at second base with Olt at third.
Part of why the Cub fans are upset about Olt not starting every day is because he is supposed to be part of the future; where Valbuena is not. In the same light Barney is not likely part of the Cubs future. Seeing either of them getting playing time over Olt sends Cub fans into a new level of outrage that I am not sure I have seen for a long time. There are still a slight majority of Cub fans who are on board with the rebuild, but seeing one of the apparent "future stars" not being played as much as Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro bothers them; probably more than is likely necessary. As I said, he is still getting a starters workload in terms of plate appearances.
While I do want Olt to start every day, just like every other fan, some people need to look at the bigger picture. They see his power potential while ignoring everything else in his game. Sure, he is leading the team in home runs and RBI, but he is also near the bottom in batting average. He looks like the current Adam Dunn and his three outcome at bats.
Eventually, Olt will get named the full time starter at third base. When that day comes is anyone's guess though, but until then know that he is getting more nods as the starter at the hot corner than Valueba. That should give the Cub fans the confidence that he is the future at third. While not being officially named starter, he is getting a starter's workload at the plate.