Taking an in Depth Look at Pittsburgh Pirates Outfield Prospect Jared Oliva
By Cody Potanko
In today’s prospect centered piece, we will take a look at fast-rising Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder prospect Jared Oliva
The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted outfielder Jared Oliva in the 7th round of the 2017 MLB Draft. Oliva came to the Pirates from the University of Arizona. His upside before being drafted was his speed, which is a 60, and his raw power, which is at a 55. His senior year with the Wildcats, he batted .321/.385/.498 while nearly leading the PAC-12 in doubles with 25 all while racking up 54 RBI.
In 2017 Oliva skipped rookie ball and went straight to short-season Morgantown to play with the Black Bears. In 56 games plated, he had 254 plate appearances and did not tear it up but still had respectable numbers. Mainly his stolen basses with 15 and his extra base hit totals with his NY-Penn league-leading seven triples. Oliva also posted an above average 109 wRC+.
When Oliva got the call-up to High-A in 2018, many wondered how he would fair in such a pitcher dominant league. He would go on to exceed expectations with an impressive slash line .275/.354/.424. Oliva’s homers went up to nine, he collected 47 RBI and a league-leading 33 stolen bases. His advanced metrics showed the improvement as well with a .149 ISO, .358 wOBA, and a wRC+ of 124.
When you look at Oliva’s splits, it showed two obvious things. The first is that he loves left-handed pitchers with a strong .889 OPS and six out of his nine home runs were off lefties. The second is when the weather gets hotter, so does Oliva. In May and June he had Josh Bell-esque OPS numbers with .990 in May and .912 in June.
In 2019, Oliva made his Double-A debut. With Altoona, he maintained his speed finishing second in the Eastern League with 36 stolen bases, but showed a dip in some of his other numbers. Most notably, his strikeouts spiked to 104 and his wOBA dropped 15 points. The good news is he maintained his hot streak in hot weather months with an OPS .858 in June and .987 in July. It wasn’t a terrible year for him, but there is definitely room for improvement.
During spring training this year, Oliva has seen significant time with the Pirates with 25 at bats. New general manager Ben Cherrington has a history of developing talent from the farm. Odds are, his eyes are on Oliva with hopes he can become a MLB regular soon. At Triple-A, all eyes will be on Oliva and Jared Martin to see who can take over the center field role and, potentially, become the Pirates center fielder if stop gap signing Jarrod Dyson is traded in July.