Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Top Prospects: #19 – Andrew Oliver

The Pirates Prospects 2013 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features over 250 prospect reports, the 2013 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find.  While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks.  Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.

To recap the countdown so far:

20. Jin-De Jhang, C

We continue the countdown with the number 19 prospect, Andrew Oliver.

19. Andrew Oliver, LHP

Oliver was one of the top prospects in baseball heading into the 2011 season. That was following his debut as a pro in 2010 where he made it to the majors in his first year with the Detroit Tigers. Oliver started off well in Double-A, but saw control issues as he moved up. Those control issues have remained in 2011 and 2012, lowering his value.

The Pirates acquired Oliver from the Tigers during the Winter Meetings in exchange for catching prospect Ramon Cabrera. The lefty had previously hit 96 MPH with his fastball, and works in the 92-94 MPH range. He doesn’t have a strong breaking ball. His curveball is better than his slider, but he hasn’t stuck with either pitch in his minor league career.

Oliver had the potential to be a middle of the rotation starter, although control issues have derailed that. He could still realize that potential, but it would require him overcoming those issues. He was rushed through the minors in 2010, and that might have led to his struggles. The Pirates might have to go back to the basics with Oliver to teach him fastball command.

They will give him a shot to win a starting job in Spring Training. If he doesn’t factor into the rotation, he will have a chance to win a bullpen job. If neither of those work out, he will go to Triple-A where he can get work as a starter. That might be the best approach for his long-term value. He won’t be much of a starter or a reliever right now with his control issues. If given some time to work on those issues, he could turn things around to the point where he could have a shot at being a mid-rotation starter. Worst case scenario has him in the majors full time in 2014 as a power left-handed reliever.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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