Manny Machado vs. Mike Olt: Who Will Have the More Dominant MLB Career?
Over the last two weeks, two of baseball’s top position prospects, Manny Machado and Mike Olt, were promoted from Double-A to the major leagues. Both players were brought up to give their respective organization a boost down the stretch.
Here is an analysis of what each player can bring to the table.
Mike Olt, Texas Rangers
Selected by the Rangers with the 49th overall pick in the 2011 draft, there’s a chance that Olt would have already reached the major leagues had he not suffered a broken collarbone and missed the second half of the 2011 season.
However, the 6’2”, 210-pounder hardly missed a beat, posting a 1.197 OPS in the Arizona Fall League while belting a league-best 13 home runs in only 27 games. At the beginning of July, Olt was selected to play for the U.S. squad in the prestigious XM Futures Game.
Ranked as the No. 29 prospect in baseball in Prospect Pipeline’s Midseason Top 50 Prospects, Olt, 23, is much more than just an all-or-nothing slugger.
He possesses excellent plate discipline, registering a 16 percent walk rate in 2011 and 14.5 percent this season at Double-A. At the same time, the right-handed hitter does notch his fair share of strikeouts, posting nearly a 24 percent strikeout rate in back-to-back seasons.
He doesn’t make an overwhelming amount of contact, but when he does, it’s barreled and driven with authority to all fields. It’s doubtful that Olt will hit for a high average, but something in the .260-.275 range is conceivable given his ability to discern balls from strikes.
An above-average defender with smooth actions, good instincts and a plus arm, Olt also offers considerable defensive value at the hot corner. Furthermore, he’s received reps at both first base and in right field over the last month.
Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
Machado, Prospect Pipeline’s No. 4 overall prospect, was impressive in his first full professional season in 2011 despite suffering a dislocated kneecap and subsequently missing a month. His 6'3", 185-pound frame is extremely projectable, and this season, he’s drawn rave reviews from scouts despite not posting overly impressive numbers.
He has the actions to remain at shortstop for the time being, but his physical development will ultimately dictate his position. He has a plus arm from the left side as well as average range, so expect Machado to be projected at multiple positions over the course of his minor league career.
His plus bat speed suggests potential for plus power—something we’ve already witnessed multiple times since his debut—and he has already shown an impressive feel for the strike zone at a young age.
While both players have All-Star-like upside, it’s the 20-year-old Machado who seems poised for an outstanding major league career.
Even though he’s playing third base for the Orioles, Machado could still see some time at shortstop over the final stretch of the season. And the longer he can stay at an up-the-middle position, the better.
Overall, the full package of tools and natural ability that Machado has showcased this season leads me to believe that he’ll serve as both a better short- and long-term option compared to Olt.
Only time will tell, however, whether either player fuels a playoff berth.
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