Olivares is the prospect centerpiece of the deal. He had a fairly significant breakout in 2017 after he barely played affiliated ball in 2016 due to injury. He was hurt after just 15 games at Bluefield in 2016 and, aside from those organizations that had extended spring-training coverage in Florida, many clubs didn’t see him until last year. In 2017, he went to Low-A and hit .277/.330/.500 with 17 homers and 18 steals in 101 games. He was promoted to Dunedin in mid-August and struggled there for the final three weeks of the season.
Olivares has an exciting, but volatile, skillset. He’s a free swinger with mediocre breaking-ball recognition and a pull-heavy approach to contact. He takes his share of ugly, unbalanced hacks at pitches that aren’t anywhere near the strike zone. So while he struck out in just 17% of his Low-A plate appearances last year, scouts are concerned about how undercooked Olivares’s feel to hit is right no, and worry that it could become an issue against more advanced pro pitching.
But he’s also a plus-armed, plus-running, well-built 6-foot-2, with enough speed to merit continued development in center field. He also has above-average bat speed and raw power, and loads his hands at a height that helps produce natural fly-ball loft in his swing. Olivares’s hit-tool projection is volatile because so many of his current deficiencies are approach-driven and not something an instructor can just fix.
When we consider that Olivares’s 2016 injury limited him to just 15 actual games, however, these struggles seem much more reasonable. If his bat and indecisive feel for center field progress, and allow his power and speed to translate to on-field production, he could be an above-average everyday player. There’s also a real possibility that he never does much of anything, though. He’s a 45 FV prospect as a high-risk, potentially above-average regular. He could share reps with Buddy Reed at High-A to start the upcoming season.
Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.