Oklahoma City RedHawks: Mike Olt notices dramatic difference between big league pitching and Double-A pitching

Olt said a brief major league audition with the Rangers was invaluable. He said that experience will help him this season, his first in Triple-A.
by Michael Baldwin Published: April 18, 2013
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photo - MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: Mike Olt of the Round Rock Express throws back to first in the first inning of a baseball game against the Oklahoma City RedHawks at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: Mike Olt of the Round Rock Express throws back to first in the first inning of a baseball game against the Oklahoma City RedHawks at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Mike Olt, the Texas Rangers' top power-hitting prospect, learned last season there's a dramatic difference between major league pitching and Double-A pitching.

And it goes beyond talent.

Rated among the top 25 prospects in the minors, according to Baseball America, the second-highest-rated third base prospect, Olt hit .152 in a brief stint with the Rangers last season.

Olt slammed 28 home runs in only 354 at bats at Double-A Frisco last season but didn't drive a ball over the wall in 33 big league at-bats.

“If you have a weakness in Double-A, their pitching coach will point it out, but it isn't always executed by the pitchers,” Olt said. “At lower levels you know at some point you'll probably get a fastball middle (part of the plate) in. In the majors you may never get a fastball middle in.”

Olt said the brief major league audition was invaluable.

“It was a really cool experience, something that definitely will help me this year,” Olt said. “I learned a lot up there. They have a great corps of guys that kind of took me under their wings and taught me a lot.”

Veterans taught him it's beneficial to have a regular routine, whether it's his pregame batting practice approach or a pregame snack.

“I'd just to get in the cage at some point and work on my swing,” Olt said. “But talking to those guys, they said you really need a routine because when you're struggling it's something you can fall back on.”

A first-round draft pick out of the University of Connecticut three years ago, Olt is off to a slow start (batting .102) in his first taste of Triple-A with Round Rock, which played a doubleheader against the RedHawks on Thursday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

“He's striking out a lot,” said Round Rock manager Bobby Jones. “To me, he's taking a lot of pitches he should be hitting. I think he's trying to be too fine. He's in a little bit of funk, but it's early. It's just a matter of making adjustments. He'll be fine.”

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by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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