When we think of Giancarlo Stanton‘s peers, names like Aaron Judge, Mike Trout and Cody Bellinger rise to the top of the list. As it turns out, Athletics’ rookie slugger Matt Olson has something in common with him, too. On Saturday, the 23-year-old cranked his 20th home run of the season, marking the first time in at seven years that a hitter has managed 20+ home runs at both the minor and major league level in the same season. The last to do it? Stanton, circa 2010.
Olson’s record-tying knock arrived first thing in the second inning. He clubbed a 2-2 curveball off of Phillies’ right-hander Ben Lively, sending it 360 feet into the right field corner to give the A’s their first lead of the night.
On Friday, when Olson collected his 19th blast, FanRag Sports’ Melissa Lockard noticed a key improvement in the infielder’s swing. Not surprisingly, it’s one that appears to have facilitated his recent surge at the plate:
Beaten by fastballs during his big league stint, Olson worked with Oakland hitting coaches to make a change with his setup at the plate. The tweak was designed to get his bat to the ball quicker without giving up the power his swing generates. The adjustment, which involved lowering his hands, has made a significant difference for Olson this season.
Pending Saturday’s results, there are only 14 games left in the regular season, which still gives Olson plenty of time to eclipse Stanton’s record of 21 minor league homers and 22 major league homers. With 23 minor league knocks already under his belt, he’ll need just three major league home runs to set a new benchmark — that is, if Phillies’ wunderkind Rhys Hoskins (29 minor league HR, 18 major league HR) doesn’t get there first.