Interview Outtakes: Rangers Slugging Prospect Mike Olt Answers Five Questions About Playing The Hot Corner
MiLB.com will soon publish the fourth part of my nine-part series on top-ranked prospects who are also top-rated defenders. The piece focuses on Rangers slugger Mike Olt (bio, stats here), the second-ranked third base prospect in all of baseball. In terms of interview extras — answers that didn’t make it into the story but are significant nonetheless — see below. Enjoy.
On his adjustment from college to pros defensively in 2010: “It took me a while in [Class A Short-Season] Spokane to get the feel of a wood bat every day. You deal with hot summer days and the ball coming off aluminum bats [in college], and your first reaction is different with a wood bat. Once I got adjusted to that, same deal. The [Rangers] wanted to make sure everything was correct form-wise and they liked what they saw.”
On his strengths as a third baseman in 2013: “What I take pride in is I’ve gotten a lot better at [fielding] slow rollers and in-between [hops], hard-hit balls with short hops — those are plays that came easy, but I worked a lot to get better at.”
On what he needs to improve at third: “Cutting down my path to the ball, trying to cut some distance. Sometimes I can get a little bit lazy and sit back on a ball instead of really attacking it, so that’s something I always have to keep working on. That just comes with my instincts of reading the ball off the bat.”
On watching incumbent Adrian Beltre play the position in 2012 and this spring: “He makes everything look easy. He makes tough, tough plays look easy. He does it everyday. He’s very consistent, and that’s what makes him a good baseball player. He’s very controlled. He doesn’t try to hurry throws. Everything he does is smooth, and that’s something I have tried to incorporate, because when I got up to [Texas], things kind of got rushed a little bit, so now it’s really just slowing the game.”
On learning other positions with Beltre blocking him: “Last year, my main focus was third base because that’s where I knew I was going. I knew I was going to [Double-A] Frisco, playing third base. Now this year, my focus is working on my weaknesses [at first base and right field]. I’m going to continue to work at third base, but I’m definitely going to put more effort into learning other positions and being more versatile. I would love to play third base full-time, but I’ll be ready for whatever happens.”