If the 2020 baseball season is able to be played, it could be a big one for Pittsburgh Pirates outfield prospect Jared Oliva
Major League Baseball continues to hope the 2020 season can be played despite the coronavirus pandemic. Their most recent proposal would include teams playing their seasons in Grapefruit/Cactus Leagues in Florida and Texas. If this happens, it is unclear how that would impact minor league players. This would have an impact on countless players, including one particular Pittsburgh Pirates outfield prospect.
This prospect is center fielder Jared Oliva. If the 2020 season is played, free agent signee Jared Dyosn will man center field for the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, Dyson is only signed for one season. Due to this, the Pirates still need to figure out their future plans for center field.
Over the weekend, we discussed how the 2020 season could be vital for outfield prospect Travis Swaggerty. This is due to Swaggerty being in position to solidify himself as the team’s center fielder of the future with a big 2020 season. Oliva, however, will do all he can to have something to say about this.
Olvia is currently listed as the team’s 9th best prospect according to FanGraphs. This comes after he had strong 2019 season with Double-A Altoona. In 2019, he hit for a .277/.352/.398 slash line with a 123 wRC+, .121 ISO, and 36 stolen bases for the Curve. He also played a strong center field defense in Altoona.
While Oliva would start any sort of 2020 season in the minor leagues, he has the opportunity to reach the MLB level this season. Undoubtedly, due to injuries or under performance, there will be opportunities to be had in the outfield this season. Oliva is likely to be one of the first players the Pittsburgh Pirates would call in this situation.
FanGraphs rates Oliva’s speed as a 60, fielding a 50, throwing a 50, and raw power a 55. Since 50 is considered average, overall, FanGraphs projects Oliva to, overall, be an above league average player.
Let’s say there is a 2020 season and Oliva gets off to strong start in the minor leagues, this puts him in position to see playing time in Pittsburgh in 2020. Especially since the odds of Dyson being a trade deadline trade candidate being high.
This could then provide an opportunity for Oliva to have an opportunity to take over as the team’s starting center fielder. Oliva could end the 2020 season as the Pirates’ starting center fielder, and the ball is likely in his court on that front.