The Chicago Cubs embark upon the 2014 season after an off-season that saw the team made little changes to the Major League roster. In 2014, the Cubs will hope for improvement from their position players and pitching staff after a 2013 season that saw the team lose 96 games.
The Cubs acquired third baseman Mike Olt in a trade during the 2013 season that sent starting pitcher Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers. Once acquired by the Cubs, Olt finished the 2013 season with the Iowa Cubs.
In 152 plate appearances with the Iowa Cubs last season, Olt had a slash line of .168/.276/.275. More concerning than his slash line was the fact that Olt had an ISO of .107 last season with the Iowa Cubs. Beyond that, Olt possessed a wOBA of .262 and a wRC+ of 48 while playing with the I-Cubs last season.
Olt will enter Spring Training in a competition with Donnie Murphy and Luis Valbuena to be the Cubs starting third baseman in 2014. The Cubs are hoping that Olt can secure the position during Spring Training.
Olt was once considered a top prospect in the Rangers organization after hitting .288/.398/.579 with 28 home runs and 82 RBIs with the team’s double-A affiliate in 2012. Olt was promoted to the Major League towards the end of the 2012 season with the Rangers but struggled in hitting .152/.250/.182 while appearing in 16 games.
Olt has spent much of the past two years battling an eye injury. The eye injury is believed to be related to post-concussion syndrome. Olt was struck in the head during a 2012 Winter League game and has not been the same since. The Cubs are hoping that the eye issues along with the post concussion syndrome is past Olt.
Whoever the starting third baseman is for the Cubs at the start of the season, they may only be keeping that spot warm for Javier Baez or Kris Bryant. Of the two, Baez is the closest to reaching the Major League level. Though if Olt proves to be productive, then a position change may be in store for both prospects.
2014 could very well be a make or break year for Olt.