The Pirates have selected outfielder Jared Oliva’s contract, per Adam Berry of MLB.com. They placed fellow outfielder Jason Martin on the 10-day injured list with an upper back strain and moved reliever Yacksel Rios to the 45-day IL in corresponding moves.
Oliva, who will turn 25 in November, could now get his first chance in the majors. The Pirates chose Oliva in the seventh round of the 2017 draft, and he made his Double-A debut last season. Oliva impressed at that level with a .277/.352/.398 line, six home runs and 38 stole bases across 507 plate appearances. He now ranks among the Pirates’ top 25 prospects at FanGraphs (No. 9), MLB.com (10) and Baseball America (23), with FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen writing last February that Oliva’s “on-base ability and speed might enable him to be a center field regular.”
The bottom-feeding Pirates need as many reasons for hope as possible, so Oliva could provide some reason for optimism as a rough season draws to a conclusion. The club’s outfield ranks 29th in the league in WAR (minus-1.5) and dead last in wRC+ (50), which helps explain why the Pirates own the majors’ worst record at 15-38.