SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 11: Mike Olt #70 of the Texas Rangers at bat against the Cleveland Indians during a spring training baseball game at Surprise Stadium on March 11, 2012 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mike Olt
In an ongoing series, we'll address offseason questions the Texas Rangers have to answer.
The Texas Rangers saw the major-league debuts of their top three prospects come in 2012 as Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt and Martin Perez all got some time with the big boys after doing all they could in the minors.
Like Profar, Olt made quite a splash in his debut with a hit in his first at-bat and three RBIs over his next two games, but after that the expected struggles set in and the 24-year-old corner infield prospect finished the season with a .152 batting average and five RBIs.
So is Olt ready to make the big-league roster out of spring training in 2013? That's up for debate — much moreso than Profar's case.
Olt is blocked at the big-league level by Adrian Beltre, who isn't going anywhere at 3B, and Mitch Moreland, who the Rangers really want to see succeed at 1B. He also can play right field, where Nelson Cruz might vacate if he's traded, but he's not ready to be a big-league outfielder by any stretch of the imagination.
That position block could be the case for a while, which makes Olt a possibility on the trade market, and a good piece of bait at that. There's even been some talk on the rumor mills of the Rangers and Diamondbacks making a deal to send Olt to Arizona for elite pitching prospect Trevor Bauer — a move I would make in a heartbeat.
So the question is, is Olt ready to start 2013 in Arlington? The answer is really a moot point since there's nowhere for him to see significant playing time, especially if you throw Michael Young into the equation. Look for Olt to either start the season in Triple-A or be traded this winter for some nice return.