Lansing Lugnuts Edward Olivares is opening eyes with his strong play this year, possibly giving the Blue Jays 5-tool prospect
I remember following Edward Olivares‘ progress as a rookie in 2014. Every day I’d be filling out the MiLB recaps and couldn’t wait to make my way down to the Dominican Summer League to see what the 18-yr-old outfielder accomplished earlier in the day. It wasn’t very often that I was disappointed.
That season Olivares showed the signs of transforming from an obscure international free agent signing to promising potential prospect. I am very hesitant to place the label of ‘prospect’ on most minor league players below A-Ball. Too often have teenagers put up big numbers in the DSL and Gulf Coast League only to get to flame out when they reach Bluefield and Vancouver.
Until last month, this appeared to be the case for Olivares.
Signed out of Caracas, Venezuela on July 2nd, 2014, Edward Olivares played his first professional game on July 7th. He went hitless but scored a run and drew a walk. After going hitless in his first two professional games, the 6-foot-2 outfielder went on a tear. He would collect hits in all but 12 of his 40 games that season.
In his rookie season, Olivares demonstrated an advanced approach at the plate with an 11.6 BB% and 13.3 K% while batting .314 and posting an impressive .427 wOBA.
The next season Olivares struggled when assigned to the GCL Blue Jays. He still showed decent speed, swiping 14 bases, but his BB% fell to 7.7 and his K% rose to 19.0. His BABIP dropped from .368 to .233 and he saw his batting average plummet to .198; however, he still produced above league average with a .356 wOBA and 122 wRC+.
Despite the low batting in 2015, Olivares did enough to continue to move up the ladder as he moved up a level earning a promotion to Bluefield to start the 2016 season. After hitting .259 with 3 doubles, a triple, a home run, 4 walks, and 6 strikeouts, it appeared as though Olivares had put his 2015 behind him. Unfortunately, riding a 8 game hit streak, Olivares was forced to leave the game early on July 11th. He would miss the rest of the season.
So it was a big surprise to me when his name was on the 2017 Opening Day roster of the Full season A-Ball Lansing Lugnuts. My initial thoughts were Olivares was simply a placeholder for the injured Joshua Palacios.
Two weeks into the season, the 21-yr-old was hitting just .169 with a double and 3 home runs. Then on April 24th, Olivares hit for the cycle and caught fire in the process. Edward Olivares has collected hits in all but one game since hitting for the cycle bumping his batting average up to .277.
Olivares isn’t just hitting singles. No sir. The young man has shown surprising power (.214 ISO) and putting up a solid .300 BABIP. He leads the club with 25 runs scored and 7 stolen bases. He’s tied for the team lead with 3 triples, tied for 2nd with 4 home runs, and 3rd with 6 doubles.
If the Lugnuts outfielder continues to produce at his current rate, he will no longer be overshadowed by highly rated top prospects like Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Bo Bichette.
- 7 multi-hit games.
- Drove in 4 runs when he hit for the cycle on April 24th and drove in 3 runs on April 22nd.
- 2 stolen bases on April 17th. Currently 7-for-9 in stolen bases.
*Featured Image Credit: Wade Black – JFtC
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