Pittsburgh Pirates: 2021 Center Field Options Entering the Off-Season
By Marty Leap
In the final week of the 2020 regular season Jared Oliva made his MLB debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Oliva had 16 plate appearances with the Pirates in the final week of the season. In these 16 PAs he went 3-for-16 with six strikeouts and a stolen base.
This came on the heels of a 2019 season that Oliva spent completely with Double-A Altoona. With the Curve, Oliva hit for a .277/.352/.398 slash line to go with a 123 wRC+ in 507 plate appearances. Had there been a minor league season in 2020, odds are, Oliva would have gotten plenty of quality at-bats at the Triple-A level.
Oliva has elite speed in center field and can be a plus defender. That goes without mentioning his potential above average offensive output. In 2018 he posted a 124 wRC+ at the High-A level. At Low-A in 2017, his wRC+ was 109. League average wRC+ is 100, so, in each of his three seasons in the minor leagues Oliva was an above leage average hitter.
What could hurt Oliva more than anything in spring training 2021 is the fact he still has minor league options remaining. We will get into this more with our next candidate, but minor league options could be a big factor here.