MLB Pipeline has been going through a series of Arizona Fall League season recaps. Three players from the Pittsburgh Pirates got mentioned in the articles, including Jared Oliva getting plenty of attention. If you missed our full AFL season recap, you can check that out here.
The first article was for 20 prospects who broke out during the AFL season. Jared Oliva got mentioned thanks to leading the league in doubles and stolen bases, while putting up an .886 OPS. It should be pointed out that the AFL season is basically the same as one month in the minors, so all of these players on the list are just guys who had a strong month compared to previous standards over a bigger sample size in the minors. Some of the names on the list failed to reach 100 plate appearances or even ten innings pitched. That’s not to take away from Oliva’s season, rather it puts it in better perspective. The season recap goes into more detail on how his AFL season wasn’t much different from his regular season results since being drafted.
The second article is Oliva getting recognition for the strong season, as he was named to the All-Arizona Fall League team. No surprise there, as he not only led in doubles and steals, but also ranked top ten in numerous other categories.
Article three had some of the best results from Statcast during the AFL season. The one problem here, which they mention in the article, is that the data is only available at one stadium. That stadium hosted two teams this year, but the data is obviously skewed towards those players. Basically, just 30 of the 87 games played in the AFL this year factored into this article. As an example on the pitching side, the four Pirates pitchers combined to throw six innings at that park. That includes nothing from Cody Ponce and just three batters for Nick Mears. Beau Sulser got in three innings total for Statcast and one of his curveballs measured a 3,215 spin rate, which was the fourth highest spin rate for the season. The top three spots were all held by Cole Uvila, who surprisingly didn’t play his home games in that park.
The final article is the top 25 prospects from the league. Oneil Cruz didn’t put up good results in the AFL, but he’s still the top prospect on this list for the Pirates, and he ranks 14th overall on this list. Jared Oliva made his way onto the list, coming in at 23rd overall. He would not have been on this list at the beginning of the AFL season. I’m not 100% sure on the merit of this list, as the #8 prospect isn’t in MLB Pipeline’s top 100 right now, while the #20 prospect on this list ranks 50th on their top 100 list. The top 100 was updated on July 27th. Regardless, it’s still good to see two Pirates on the list.