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PCL notes: Olt seeing game clearly
No. 2 Rangers prospect starts anew after solving eye problem
07/01/2013 10:00 AM ET
Mike Olt learned a lot about dealing with attention from Jurickson Profar.
Mike Olt learned a lot about dealing with attention from Jurickson Profar. (Jim Redman/MiLB.com)

There is seemingly a greater level of pressure on baseball prospects now than there was 20 years ago.

Between multiple websites covering the Minor Leagues, the various ranking lists, social media and more, the players down on the farm are under a greater scrutiny than ever before.

Rangers' No. 2 prospect Mike Olt has experienced all of that extra attention ever since he was taken with the 49th overall selection in the 2010 Draft out of the University of Connecticut.

This season, however, was the first time Olt had to deal with a large swath of fans and media following him closely while he struggled at the plate.

"I think you have to look at it as preparation for the big leagues," Olt said of dealing with the outside pressure and attention. "There's so much you're asked for when you get to that level. You want to be able to perform. In the Minor Leagues now it's the same way."

Olt missed nearly a month while he and the Rangers tried to figure out why he could not produce tears in his right eye, which was beginning to affect his vision and was certainly affecting his hitting and his play at third base.

Once they did get the right diagnosis, Olt began using a special eye drop that brought things back to normal.

"It's been night and day since then," he said.

Olt's overall numbers -- .207 (36-for-174), eight homers, 23 RBIs -- with Round Rock are still far below what was expected, though Olt is not concerning himself with such things.

"I think I started over," he said. "I started a new season for myself. I mean obviously the numbers are going to be the numbers. Baseball people will understand it's not about your numbers.

"The last 20 games, I feel definitely more like myself. My power is back. I'm swinging at pitches I was letting go by earlier this season."

Olt said he and his teammates learned how to deal with overt amounts of attention, good and bad, from shortstop Jurickson Profar. Baseball's top prospect started his season with Round Rock before being called up by Texas in mid-May.

"He handles it really well," Olt said. "Everyone really handles it well. But he has it a little different. He was the No. 1 prospect in baseball. Everywhere you'd go, he's kind of the center of attention. But you would never know he was the No. 1 prospect. He's just out there having fun. A lot of our guys see him and can learn from him."

Now Olt can get back to just playing baseball, which could include a future position change as Adrian Beltre blocks him at third base in Texas.

"I definitely worked in Spring Training on the outfield, but I think early in the season when I was struggling, they didn't want me to focus on other positions," Olt said. "Whatever Texas needs is what I'm going to work on."

In brief

Sounding healthy: Nashville right-hander Hiram Burgos is back on the mound after missing nearly a month with a shoulder impingement. The Brewers' No. 11 prospect started June 23 for the Sounds, but was lifted after one scoreless inning. Burgos earned the win Thursday with five scoreless innings in a 5-2 victory over Oklahoma City.

Welcome, Matt: Tucson's rotation got a boost this week when right-hander Matt Andriese was promoted from Double-A San Antonio. The Padres' No. 20 prospect was 8-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 15 starts for the Missions. In his first career Triple-A start, he allowed two runs in five innings and did not factor in the decision of a 4-2 loss at Colorado Springs on Friday.

Future stars: The PCL will be well represented at the All-Star Futures Game with five players named to the initial U.S. roster and three to the World roster. Nashville right-hander Jimmy Nelson, Tacoma right-hander Taijuan Walker, Reno third baseman Matt Davidson and Memphis second baseman Kolten Wong will play for the American squad. Tacoma shortstop Brad Miller has since been recalled by the Mariners and will not play. Las Vegas right-hander Rafael Montero, Omaha right-hander Yordano Ventura and Memphis outfielder Oscar Taveras were listed for the World team.

Chris Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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