Pittsburgh Pirates Minors: Three Overlooked Prospects
By Noah Wright
Outfielder Jared Oliva
Outfielder Jared Oliva was a 7th rpund pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2017 MLB Draft. He had a breakout minor league season during the 2018 campaign at High-A Bradenton. Through 454 plate appearances, Oliva put up a solid .275/.354/.424 line with 9 home runs, 24 doubles, a .358 wOBA and 124 wRC+. Oliva struck out just 20% of the time while posting a solid 8.8% walk rate. Speed was a real weapon for Oliva as he swiped 33 bases in 41 attempts. It was even more of a weapon for Oliva with his solid on-base percentage.
The following season the speedy center fielder was promoted to Double-A Altoona where he continued to put up good numbers. This time through 507 plate appearances, Oliva had a .277/.352/.398 line, 6 homers, 24 doubles, a .343 wOBA and 123 wRC+. While Oliva did see a decrease in power, he also ran more stealing 36 bases in 47 attempts. He also had a similar strikeout rate (20.5%) and walk rate (8.3%) compared to 2018.
Oliva made his MLB debut during the COVID-shortened 2020 season. In just 16 plate appearances, Oliva collected just 3 hits while striking out 6 times. Overall, not great numbers, but it was in a very small body of work. Still, Olvia entered the off season as one of the Bucs’ top 15 prospects.
He’s considered a plus fielder out in center with a current 50/future 55 fielding grade on FanGraphs. He also can run well with a 60-speed grade. His hit tool is only seen as a 50-future grade tool and his game power only has a 45-future grade, but in terms of raw power, he sits with a 55 current/future mark.
Oliva hasn’t stepped to the plate yet at Triple-A. As things currently stand, the 25-year-old will enter Spring Training gunning for the spot as the Pittsburgh Pirates starting center fielder. However, he could be on hand to play any outfield position for the Bucs in 2021. If he loses out the center field job to Anthony Alford or another player they bring in, he’ll likely be the first player they call up to take over primary duties in the outfield if one struggles.