It’s always a pleasure to catch up with the manager of the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders and former Texas Rangers third baseman Steve Buechele. He was a guest on Rangers Magazine this past Sunday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. As you can imagine, RoughRiders third baseman Mike Olt was a primary focus of our conversation.
“Number one, he’s a great kid. Number two, he’s super talented. You know, I think everyone talks about his power potential, which is a given. They’ve got him listed as a plus defender, which I think he will be. He’s got some way to go defensively and things to learn. That’s why he’s here,” Buechele said. “The good thing about him is that he’s willing to learn, and he’s not afraid to work. He’s going to be a good one. There’s no question about it.”
Of course, it makes sense that Buechele is assisting in the development of a third baseman. He played more 1,200 major league games at third base from 1985-1995 and most of those years with the Rangers. Buechele was a solid defender, but he also knows how to develop the baseball mind from his own experiences.
When you think about Olt, you also have to think about who is at third base for the Rangers. It’s Adrian Beltre, and he is signed to a long-term contract. When Buechele was in the minors, Buddy Bell manned the hot corner for the Rangers.
“I think in this game, you never know what’s going to happen. Buddy was traded [to the Cincinnati Reds], and I got the call. You never know with injuries or trades. It’s just the way this game goes. I think sometimes it can be frustrating to a player, but sure enough when you are ready to make it to the big leagues and play in the big leagues, there will be a spot for you,” said Buechele, who was 23 years old when he received the call-up to the big leagues.
Odds are extremely against Beltre being traded, but Olt, who is 23, saw playing time at first base in spring training and will eventually play some first base with the RoughRiders. As we know from over the years, the Rangers have not been shy about trading quality minor leaguers to bolster the major league club. It will be interesting to follow the development of Olt.
Buechele also talked more about the versatility of position players, Jurickson Profar’s first taste of AA, how far Olt and Profar are from the big leagues, Brad Hawpe’s progress, Engel Beltre’s improvement, Joe Wieland’s MLB debut, Barrett Loux, Justin Grimm and Tim Murphy. Listen to the podcast.