LISTEN: GPB's Peter Biello speaks with the Atlanta Braves' first baseman.

Matt Olson runs through a fielding drill at Truist Park on June 28, 2023.

Matt Olson runs through a fielding drill at Truist Park on June 28, 2023.

Credit: Peter Biello

Voting for the Major League Baseball All-Star game is in its second and final round. Fans have until noon Thursday to cast ballots.

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. has secured his spot by landing the most votes of any player in the first round. But several other Atlanta players are still on the ballot, including first baseman Matt Olson. GPB’s Peter Biello caught up with Olson to ask him about that.


Peter Biello: What goes through your mind when you're thinking about your name being on the All-Star ballot, especially when it's right next to Freddie Freeman's name?

Matt Olson: It's obviously an honor to be thought about for for that. I think you set out at the beginning of the year and it's a goal to be in the mention for it and try to make the team. What happens, happens. I'm good either way. But yeah, definitely be an honor.

Peter Biello: You've launched some serious bombs this year. A few over the Chop House [behind right field]. Tell me about your hitting this year. How would you assess the way you've been at the plate?

Matt Olson: You know, it's been — it's been a little back and forth. Hasn't been as consistent as I would like. But, you know, when I'm having good at-bats I guess I'm making them count and driving a few balls and and obviously I've hit a few home runs. I think — I think the main goal is you're trying to win games. So scoring runs and driving runs in is — should be at the top of the list. And you know, I've been able to to drive in a few. It's easy when you got guys like Ronald [Acuña Jr.] and Ozzie [Albies] and Murph [Sean Murphy] and [Austin] Riley ahead of you on base a lot, they make it easy for a guy trying to drive in some runs and, yeah.

Peter Biello: How do you feel being a part of this lineup? Because the word "power" keeps coming up again and again and there's doesn't seem to be any dead spots in this lineup. How do you feel to be part of that?

Matt Olson: It's the best lineup I've been a part of. You know, like you said, one through nine, there's no easy outs. Our eight hole hitter's hitting .315 right now and is one of the best shortstops in the game right now. Our nine hole hitter was Rookie of the Year last year and is hitting .400 in the last two or three weeks. In some places where you would see some soft spots in other lineups, guys who could be a little bit of an easier out. It doesn't feel like the case for us and that's exhausting for a pitcher on the other side.

Peter Biello: That's Orlando Arcia and Michael Harris II that you were referring to. Let's talk defense. Last night's game against the Twins. You were on the receiving end of the put-out of an amazing play between second and short. What's going through your mind when you see the other three infielders just turning tricks, stopping balls and just nailing the throw from pretty much any corner?

Matt Olson: I mean, that's what we want to be out there doing. You know, that's obviously an incredible play that they made, one that's just spur of the moment, you know, trust in your baseball IQ and the talent. And, you know, those guys have a good rapport together and are able to kind of make those plays on the fly. But as a whole, especially infield defense, we want to be a unit that pitchers have confidence in, especially with a dude like [Bryce] Elder throwing. [He's a] sinker guy. You got to be able to have confidence and letting the guys put the ball in play and have the plays made behind you. So we love hitting, we love driving guys in, but the defensive side is just as important and we like to make it easy on the pitchers.

Peter Biello: Finally, I know you have to go and get ready for today's game, but what will you be working on or thinking about for your own development going forward for the rest of the season? Is there a priority area that you're working on?

Matt Olson: You know, just continue to feel better, continue to steadily rise as we hopefully work for a playoff run and —

Peter Biello: Feel better? Is something bothering you?

Matt Olson: No, you know, like I said, I feel like it's been a tad inconsistent at times. The strikeouts are high and I feel like I've been working in the right direction. But it's the name of the game. You don't you don't want to peak in April and go downhill from there. You want to, you know, steadily build as the year goes on personally and as a team. And I feel like we're doing that.