The Oakland A's youth movement continues unabated. On Monday, the A's added top prospects Matt Olson and Renato Nunez to their active roster. Both Olson and Nunez will be making their major league debuts.
Olson was added to the A's 40-man roster as part of the move, taking the spot vacated by Billy Butler when he was released by Oakland on Sunday. Olson was the A's third overall pick (Compensation Round A) in 2012 out of Parkview High School in Georgia. He joins Addison Russell, Bruce Maxwell, Max Muncy and Ryan Dull as members of the A's 2012 draft class to reach the big leagues.
Since turning pro, Olson has been one of the organization's top power hitters. He hit nine homers in half a season in 2012 and has reached double figures in every season since then. In 2014 with the High-A Stockton Ports, Olson launched 37 homers. The past two seasons he has hit 17 homers at Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville, respectively. He has a career .467 SLG and a .220 ISO. He has 384 walks in 586 career minor league games and a .364 career OBP.
A natural first baseman, Olson has added defensive versatility over the past two seasons, playing a significant number of games in right field. He has always been one of the most durable players in the A's system, appearing in more than 130 games in each of his four full professional seasons. Olson played in 131 games for Nashville this season, hitting .235/.335/.422 with 71 walks and 34 doubles. He hit .263/.345/.475 after the All-Star break and hit .263/.391/.474 with a homer and four walks in the Sounds' recently completed five-game post-season series. At 22 years old, Olson is the second-youngest player on the A's big league roster.
Nunez, who is a week younger than Olson, takes the crown for the youngest player on the current A's roster. The native of Venezuela signed as an international amateur free agent with Oakland before the 2011 season. He opened eyes his first season of pro ball in the Dominican Summer League and came stateside in 2012, when he hit .325 for the AZL A's. He was teammates with Olson at every level since 2012, moving up to Low-A in 2013, High-A in 2014, Double-A in 2015 and Triple-A this year.
Nunez and fellow A's third base prospect Matt Chapman are the two best right-handed power threats in the A's system. Nunez has hit double-digits in homeruns in every season since 2013 and he hit 23 during the regular season this year, second-most in the system behind Chapman. Nunez added three more homeruns during the Sounds' post-season series. It was an up-and-down year for Nunez, who failed to hit for average for the first time in his career. After hitting .279 in Stockton and .278 in Midland, Nunez hit only .223 for Nashville. However, he has the capability of hitting for average, as well as power, as he matures.
Like Olson, Nunez added some defensive versatility over the past two seasons. Primarily a third baseman, Nunez played some first base in 2015 and some left field in 2016. Nunez's defense has improved at third base, but with Chapman and Ryon Healy also in the A's future plans, Nunez is likely to find his permanent defensive home somewhere other than the hot corner.
Nunez is the first player signed by the A's as an international amateur free agent to reach the big leagues since Arnold Leon did at the start of 2015.