This summer, Addison Russell has snagged many of the Oakland farm headlines, but the 2012 first-round Draft pick (11th overall) wasn't the only potentially impact talent the A's grabbed in the first round of last year's Draft.
The team also selected Daniel Robertson (34th overall) and Matthew Olson (47th overall) with the hopes that the trio of high school bats could bring a jolt of offensive talent to the team's system.
Robertson and Olson each had their first multi-home run games of the season for Class A Beloit on Sunday, with Olson notching the first two-dinger game of his career in a 10-5 win over Burlington.
Ranked No. 6 in Oakland's system, Robertson plated four runs with his fifth and sixth homers of the season. The shortstop tied a career high for long balls in a game, as he had two shortly after signing in a July 12, 2012 contest in the Rookie-level Arizona League.
No. 7 prospect Olson now has 17 homers this season, including four in August. The first baseman also had four RBIs, but struck out three times.
The Snappers also got a solo shot from No. 5 prospect Renato Nunez.
Robertson's outburst gave him his first long ball since June 5, a span of 52 games. The shortstop ended the drought with a roundtripper in the first inning, catching a 3-1 fastball over the plate and driving it out to left-center field.
The right-handed hitter lined out in his second at-bat, and then in his third plate appearance, struck out swinging at an Alex Blackford changeup.
Robertson got revenge with a homer off Blackford in the fifth. The hurler came at Robertson with a first-pitch fastball, which the shortstop fouled off, then induced a couple uncomfortable swings on a curveball and then a change.
After Robertson fouled off the changeup, Blackford threw another change. Robertson anticipated this offspeed offering and drilled it out down the left-field line.
"He threw a change that I fouled off, and he kind of made me look silly out in front of it," he said. "I knew he would come back with another change, and he left one up and I got it and took it down the left-field line."
That ability to anticipate Blackford's final changeup is a talent Robertson has been refining this summer. The 19-year-old is in his first professional season since graduating from Upland (Calif.) High School in 2012, and he thinks one of the biggest improvements he's made this season is in picking up pitchers' sequences and habits.
"Definitely, as I'm playing more and going through the season, I'm checking out what guys are trying to do in different situations and I'm just trying to get a pitch in my zone and put a good swing on it," he said. "Early in the season, I was chasing pitches here and there. Just knowing what guys are doing and trying to get a pitch and hit it hard. I was fortunate to do that today."
Robertson was also excited to end his homerless drought, though the 6-foot, 190-pound infielder added that the lack of long balls hadn't weighed too heavily on his mind.
"I think my last home run was in the first half of the season," he said. "I've had none since the All-Star break, but it was never on my mind in that time. If I hit one, I hit one. I don't want to start trying to muscle the ball out of the park. When I do that, I tend to pull off and don't put good swings on the ball. I try to stick gap-to-gap and hit line drives."
Olson, meanwhile, has displayed a propensity for power in his first full pro season, collecting 43 extra-base hits in 115 games so far. The first baseman did most of his damage early in counts, driving a first-pitch fastball out to right-center field for his first homer, then catching an early cutter for his second blast.
"You don't get very many good pitches," he said of the Midwest League. "Pitches you see and think, 'I can drive this.' If those pitches happen to be early in the count, you can't really take them. You can't just let those opportunities pass."
It's in that regard that Olson thinks he's made the most progress this season. While his power has translated to the Class A level, he's struggled from an average standpoint, hitting .217. Despite that, he's managed a .326 on-base percentage with 66 walks, and he has felt increasingly comfortable lately with his swing and approach, even if he's only hit .181 in 46 second-half games.
"I think that's just coming from the number of at-bats I've gotten," he said. "Last year, in my first half a season or whatever, in those at-bats, I was just looking for fastballs all the time.
"As I've taken more at-bats, I'm starting to understand the process of having a good approach, seeing certain pitches up and just trying to get more advanced as a hitter. I'm not there at all, but just with experience and the at-bats, hopefully I can get it down."