The Pittsburgh Pirates have struggled to find a consistent third outfielder. The team should turn to a recent roster addition.
The Pittsburgh Pirates recalled outfielder Jared Oliva recently, taking first baseman Colin Moran’s roster spot when he was placed on the injured list. In turn, this moved worked out as outfielder Kai Tom hit the Injury List today. Now Olivia should be given an everyday opportunity to prove what he can do. After all, he has a notable prospect in the Buc’s system at one point.
Oliva spent the 2019 season at Double-A where he hit for a solid .277/.352/.398 line with a .343 wOBA, and 123 wRC+. Oliva walked at an 8.3% rate and struck out in 20.5% of all his plate appearances. However, his .352 OBP was helped by the fact he is a well-above-average base runner. Oliva stole 36 bases in 46 attempts. It was the second straight year in a row Oliva put up 20% or better offensive numbers in a minor league season.
Oliva got his shot at the major leagues last year, but only stepped to the plate 16 times, collecting just 3 singles and striking out 6 times. The outfielder got off to a late start in 2021 because of an injury but has since returned and started the year out at Triple-A. He struggled to just a 22 wRC+, but it was in just a small sample size of 52 plate appearances.
The Pirates need to at least give Oliva a chance in the major leagues this year. They’ve used a flurry of outfielders this year including Ka’ai Tom, Wilmer Difo, Dustin Fowler, Anthony Alford, Troy Stokes Jr., and Ben Gamel. However, none have been able to reach even a 90 wRC+ mark.
At this point, Jared Oliva is the closest big league ready outfield prospect the team has. While they continue me to trot out Tom, and earlier Dustin Fowler, Oliva was hurt. Now that he is back and on the roster he should be given a legit chance. What is there to lose?