JARED OLIVA, CENTER FIELDER
|Born: November 27, 1995
Drafted: 7th Round, 208th Overall, 2017
How Acquired: Draft
College: University of Arizona
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Oliva was the second college senior the Pirates took early in the 2017 draft, after fourth rounder Jason Delay. MLB Pipeline called him an athletic player with speed that helps him both on offense and defense. He played for three seasons at Arizona and batted 321/385/498 in 2017, which was a big improvement over his previous showings. He also improved his plate discipline markedly, as it had been a weakness previously. The numbers aren’t quite as impressive as they look, as his OBP was below average for a team that played in a high-offense environment. His power was mainly of the gap variety, with just four HRs but the second-most doubles in the Pac 12. He’s relatively inexperienced and, given his size, may have more raw power than what he’s shown. He has the potential to stay in center, but according to Baseball America his skills there still need polish. He has above-average speed and stole ten bases in 13 tries. Despite his being a senior, the Pirates signed him for exactly the slot amount.
Oliva was Morgantown’s primary center fielder, although he played a little in both corners as well. He hit decently with good gap power; he tied for the league lead in triples. His walk and K rates obviously weren’t great, but he did well at base stealing.
Oliva was the starting center fielder for Bradenton and had something of a breakout season. After a slow start, he had three strong months before struggling in August, during which he was in and out of the lineup with a hand injury. His OPS by month:
Oliva’s overall line, which included increased power in particular, compared well with the league average of 252/323/368. He crushed LHPs for an .889 OPS, while posting a .729 figure against RHPs. Despite skipping a level, he improved both his walk and K rate, and he led the league in steals while maintaining a solid success rate. He also played well on defense.
Oliva spent the season as the center fielder at Altoona. He got off to a terrible start, but got hot in June and especially July before slumping late in the season as he did the year before. His monthly OPS, excluding two September games:
He had a small reverse platoon split. Oliva continued to play strong defense and finished second in the league in steals.
With a week left in the season, the Pirates had a need due to injuries and called Oliva up. He got into six games.
Oliva didn’t have a good spring and the Pirates reassigned him from spring training to work on his hitting. He would have opened the season with Indianapolis, but he suffered an oblique injury that kept him out until mid-June. The timing could have been better, as the Pirates’ outfield was melting down and Oliva might have gotten a shot with them. He spent the last half of June at Indy, moved up to Pittsburgh for July, then went back to Indy at the beginning of August and spent the rest of the year there. Oliva struggled badly in June and July, then hit better after he went back to AAA, but still not all that well. On defense he mostly played center for Indy and right for the Pirates.
The Pirates kept Oliva on the 40-man roster into spring training, but designated him for assignment when they pointlessly acquired Josh VanMeter. Oliva spent the season at Indianapolis playing all three outfield positions, but mostly center. He struggled through the first four months, a lot of it due to a 26% K rate. In August and September, though, he got hot, putting up OPS figures of .959 and .937, respectably. Despite the bad first four months, that was enough to leave him four points above the league-average OPS while playing in a pitchers park. Not coincidentally, Oliva’s K rate dropped to 16%. He also did a very good job stealing bases. He had a large platoon split, wearing out LHPs to the tune of a .967 OPS. He managed only .687 against RHPs.
Oliva provides enough value on defense and on the bases that he’d only have to hit respectably to be a useful player at the major league level. Given the number of upper-level outfield prospects the Pirates have, his window of opportunity with them may be closed, plus he’ll play 2023 at age 27, but he might have a chance elsewhere. He has one more year before minor league free agency.
|2023: Minor League Salary
|Signing Bonus: $200,000
MiLB Debut: 2017
MLB Debut: 9/21/2020
MiLB FA Eligible: 2023
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 9/21/2020 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 2 (USED: 2021)
MLB Service Time: 0.049
|June 13, 2017: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 7th round, 208th overall pick; signed on June 20.
September 21, 2020: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
April 1, 2022: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates and outrighted to AAA.