Braves star affirming that awful slump is thing of the past

Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Braves have to feel great about the spring training showing of Matt Olson, who looks refreshed after ending last year in the worst slump of his career.

Atlanta made a bold move last year, trading for first baseman Matt Olson while letting beloved club legend Freddie Freeman leave for the Dodgers.

Olson had huge shoes to fill, so it’s no wonder he stumbled somewhat in his first season with the Braves. Overall things weren’t bad. He had 34 home runs and 103 RBI. However, he couldn’t repeat as an All-Star and he fell into a terrible slump at the end of the season.

The first baseman called it the worst slump of his career. The numbers back that up. In September, he had just 15 hits in 102 plate appearances, batting .169/.265/.326.

He might have been trying too hard to fill Freeman’s shoes. After all, he had a career high in strikeouts.

The offseason seems to have done Olson a whole lot of good because his spring training numbers prove the slump is very much gone.

Matt Olson’s slump-busting spring is great news for the Braves

As pointed out by David O’Brien of The Athletic, Olson is batting .441 in spring training, going 15-for-34 with seven home runs.

Obviously, spring training stats don’t count for the season, which begins on Mar. 30 against the Nationals. But it certainly helps to build confidence seeing Olson smash it the way he has so far this month. The worst thing for him would be to start the coming campaign still in the throes of last year’s slump.

The Braves won the NL East in 2022 but they exited the playoffs quickly, falling to the Phillies 3-1 in the divisional series. They’ll look to advance further in 2023 though they’re once again replacing a high-profile departure in Dansby Swanson, tapping Orlando Arcia for the job instead of highly-anticipated prospect Vaughn Grissom.

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