Matt Olson: What to know about the new Atlanta Braves first baseman

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves made a massive trade on Monday that likely signals the end of Freddie Freeman’s time with the Braves.

The Braves traded for Oakland A’s All-Star first baseman Matt Olson, the team confirmed.

Atlanta will send top prospects outfielder Cristian Pache, catcher Shea Langeliers, and pitchers Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes to Oakland in return.

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Who exactly is this newest Atlanta Brave? We’ve compiled some quick facts to get to know him.

1. He’s a local standout returning home.

Olson is a Gwinnett County native who was a star player during his time at Parkview High School in Lilburn.

According to the school’s website, the 27-year-old holds several records at the school: most career doubles (44), most career RBIs (168), most career bases on balls (79), most bases on balls in one season (40 in 2012), most career pitching wins (28), most innings pitched in a season (85 in 2012) and fewest walks per seven innings during his career (1.04).

The high school retired his uniform number, 21, in 2019.

Many of the records Olson doesn’t hold are held by fellow former Braves star Jeff Francoeur.

2. He had one of his best seasons ever in 2021.

The 6′5″ first baseman earned his career-highest totals in batting average, on-base percentage, home runs (39), RBI (111), runs (101), hits (153) and doubles (35) last season. All of that culminated in his first All Star selection.

Here’s hoping he can bring an even better season to the A!

3. He bats and throws with different hands.

While not as uncommon as it might seem, it’s still pretty cool that he’s talented enough to use both of his hands. Olson bats left-handed, but throws right-handed.

The MLB says that among players who bat and throw with different hands, it’s more likely they bat left-handed and throw right-handed.

4. He made his MLB debut with the Oakland A’s in 2016.

He was drafted during the first round of 2012 MLB Draft by the A’s. He had committed to play baseball at Vanderbilt University, but took his commitment back and signed with the Athletics.

He played several seasons in the minor leagues before getting called up to the majors in September 2016.

He set a rookie record by hitting 13 homers in the first month he was in the major leagues. He’s also tied for the third-most home runs in a player’s first 65 games in MLB history.

5. He was almost college roommates with Dansby Swanson.

After Olson verbally committed to Vanderbilt, he and the Braves’ Dansby Swanson were set to be roommates and play baseball together for the Commodores. Olson ended up deferring college to sign with the Oakland A’s. Swanson ended up attending Vanderbilt and playing college baseball before joining the MLB.

6. He’s a newlywed.

Olson and his wife Nicole tied the knot last November in Atlanta. The couple lives in Atlanta during the offseason.