Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Prospects Who Could Play Key Roles In 2021
By Noah Wright
These three Pittsburgh Pirates prospects could play pivotal roles for the team before the end of the 2021 season
The Pittsburgh Pirates have many different prospects coming up through the system. The likes of Oneil Cruz, Quinn Priester, Nick Gonzales, Liover Peguero, Travis Swaggerty and more will be playing pivotal roles for the Pirates in the near future.
While they may not play regular roles in this upcoming season the Pittsburgh Pirates could see some of their other more developed prospects take over pivotal and key roles this year. Today, we will take a look at three prospects who could do that this season. These three, not only, could be regulars by the end of 2021, but potentially be placed in very important roles for the team.
Jared Oliva has been very consistent throughout his pro career so far. In his first full pro season in 2018 the outfielder hit .275/.354/.424 line in 454 plate appearances at the High-A level. Overall, he had a .358 wOBA and 124 wRC+. The following season he was promoted to Double-A where he put up another solid .277/.354/.398 line with a .343 wOBA and near identical 123 wRC+.
Oliva’s plate discipline was also very similar between the two seasons. His walk rate in 2018 was 8.8% and 8.3% in 2019. He struck out just 20% of the time in 2018 and then just 20.5% of the time in 2019.
His ability to reach base at an above average rate really helped him show off his speed. Between the two seasons he stole over 30 bases and had a 80.2% success rate when swiping an extra bag. The only major difference between his two seasons were his power output. Oliva hit the same amount of doubles and more triples in 2019 than to 2018, but he slugged three less home runs. This made his isolated slugging percentage go from .149 to just .121.
Oliva is a fast runner. He was clocked last season with a 29 feet/second sprint speed, which was faster than the likes of Mike Trout, Trevor Story, Starling Marte and Billy Hamilton. Overall, that’s considered his best tool with a 60-speed grade. He does have some power potential with a 55-current and future raw power grade, but just a 40-hit grade on FanGraphs and 50-hit tool on MLB Pipeline. Still, if he can continue to put up an OBP around .350, he’ll be a very valuable asset with his speed.
Oliva is considered an average fielder in center with an average arm. Currently, he’s going into his age 25-season. The Bucs are set to open 2021 with former Toronto Blue Jays top prospect Anthony Alford starting in center. However, Alford has a wOBA of just .307 at Triple-A. While Alford will be given a shot to lock down a primary job in center, but Oliva could take over the job at some point this season.