This story originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of ESPNHS Georgia.
When it comes to putting up weight in the gym, Matt Olson cedes strength honors to senior teammate Edwin Arias. But when it comes to power on the diamond, Olson stands alone.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pounder is one of the nation’s premier hitters and has a knack for crushing the ball, much to the dismay of opposing hurlers. That tremendous tool — along with an 89-mph heater — is why Olson is expected to be among a contingent of locals selected in this year’s MLB draft.
“I’m not the one in the weight room pounding out the weight, but the people who have helped me with my swing taught me how to use it effectively,” says Olson, a Vandy recruit.
His power was apparent early on as he cranked seven bombs as a freshman despite splitting time on JV. He followed that up by belting 15 long balls in full-time action as a sophomore and added another 17 last spring to power Parkview to its fourth Class AAAAA crown.
“He’s by far the best hitter since I’ve been here,” says skipper Chan Brown.
And don’t expect to see much of a dip in Olson’s production because of the new BBCOR bats. He regularly drilled lasers with the stick during the summer and launched a pair of moon shots during the first two weeks of the ‘12 season.
“Personally, I haven’t felt a huge difference with it,” says Olson. “And I don’t feel pressured to hit a homer every game. The guys surrounding me can do it just as much as me.”
Olson’s not being modest, either. The Panthers have run producers up and down the lineup with junior extra-base machine Josh Hart and Olson’s bash brother, Arias, capable of altering the outcome of a game with one swing. Teammates have dubbed the trio Shake, Bake and Quake.
“Of course, I’m Quake,” says Olson. “Home runs are pretty important to us. We look to drive the ball a lot.”