This has been a sad week for the New York Yankees with the team releasing 43 minor leaguers due to the loss of revenue from the Covid-19 pandemic. We have been going through the Yankees system breaking down some of the bright spots in the minor league system. Despite the unfortunate news of the cuts, we will be continuing our prospect series. The next Yankees prospect that we will be breaking down is a talented outfielder from Venezuela. That outfielder would be Pablo Olivares. Olivares has been with the Yankees organization for five years and he’s continually climbed the organizational latter slowly but surely. Olivares has some good tools all around but took a little step back in 2019 after a very impressive 2018 campaign.
Step Back 2019
2018 was truly a breakout year for Olivares where he hit .322 in 70 games in A-ball. Olivares also looked pretty solid in the field in 2018, but that success didn’t transition over to 2019. Olivares appeared in 117 games last year for the Tampa Tarpons and in those 117 games, Olivares hit .250 with an OBP of .358. Olivares also showed off really good speed last year but looked a little lost in the outfield at times. Olivares has the speed to play center, where he’s currently getting the majority of his reps, but he needs to work on his route running. Last year, Olivares impressed me with his eye at the plate. The OBP is a stat that I was encouraged by. In watching some tape, Olivares is really good about being able to identify pitches quickly out of the pitcher’s hand. I’ve seen him spit on really good breaking balls that appear to be strikes when they are first released. When he made contact, Olivares does a really good job of getting the barrel on the ball. He doesn’t have the power to hit you a ton of home runs, but he could develop into a doubles machine with time. Olivares has shown the Yankees organization that he has the tools to be a contributor at whatever level he’s at.
There are plenty of things to work on for Pablo Olivares. While Olivares has a really good eye at the plate, he gets a little anxious sometimes. I think his lack of power gets to him, and he pulls off the ball quite a bit. He gets a little power happy, but that’s not hitting to his strength. Again, he’s got a tremendous eye so he needs to focus on just making consistent contact and driving the ball in the gaps. It doesn’t matter if he can’t get the ball out of the ballpark if his average is floating around 300. Olivares has really good speed, and he needs to continue to use it as a weapon. I was encouraged that last year he attempted stealing 33 times, successfully stealing 20. He’s got the speed, but he needs to continue to work on reading the pitcher before he takes off. I think his success numbers could become even better. Olivares has the speed and the arm of a plus defender, but he has trouble with some of his fielding mechanics. Olivares doesn’t always take the best route to the ball and misjudges the ball off the bat sometimes. His speed can make up some of the difference, but he could become a special defender with more reps. Olivares is not a guy that I believe is going to develop into a star, but he can definitely develop into a solid major league baseball player with time. Some scouts believe that his future is as a fourth outfielder, and I think at this point that’s closer to the floor of his potential. Time will tell, but I’m interested to continue to watch Olivares over the next couple of years.