Now that the second half of the season and the daunting shadows of Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. have been promoted. This appears to be the time for Edward Olivares to take center stage for the Lansing Lugnuts.
The 2014 International signee has had a solid start in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. The Venezuelan native started his tenure with the Jays system in the Dominican Summer League and had a very impressive 40 games. At the tender age of 18, he was showing he had plenty to offer with his talents on a baseball diamond. Olivares batted .314 in those 40 games while driving in 22 RBI and scoring 31 runs. The speedy outfielder also showed off on the base paths with 12 steal and excellent discipline at the plate with 22 walks.
The successes of 2014 in the Dominican Summer League did not transfer over to the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays as he struggled to find his footing in the 38 games with the club. He was just 19 and had some growing to do to get into regular season ball. He played just 15 games in the Appalachian League with the Bluefield team but looked more settled and ready to compete at the level. He batted .273 in those starts and had 3 doubles, a triple, and a home run in that time frame.
Fast forwarding to this season where he got his first chance at full-season baseball with the Single-A Lansing Lugnuts. Olivares appears to have found his home in the Midwest League and has had the pleasure of playing in a potent lineup that started the season with Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Bradley Jones. As of this past weekend, all of those players are now with the Dunedin Blue Jays in the Florida State League. Now it appears to be Olivares’ turn to shine in an offense that has had very few issues scoring runs.
Olivares started off this season slow as he adjusted to everyday baseball but he has since found a groove that is becoming to look like the normal. For the season he is hitting .287 and has a major source of production for the Lugnuts. He currently leads the team in games played with 75 and has been the team’s everyday center fielder. He also leads the team in runs scored with 62. Bo Bichette finished his tenure with the Lugnuts with 60 runs scored the other day to put things into perspective. Olivares has also been strutting with a very powerful bat and leads the team in home runs with an impressive 14.
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Olivares is the active leader in nearly every offensive category now that Bo and Vlad have departed for Dunedin. Olivares’ tools are on full display at the plate as his hard hitting and speed combine to be one of the toughest outs in the Midwest League. He has been peppering extra-base hits all over the field and has an astounding 9 triples on the season. That ties him for the most in the League at the close of business yesterday.
The extra base power has been nothing short of incredible from Olivares. He has 20 doubles and 14 home runs to go with those 9 triples. His current triple slash numbers are .287 / .328 / .536. To show how impressive that is Vlad hit .316 / .409 / .888 and is known for having an advanced approach at the plate. That is the main difference in those numbers between the two along with a very slow start to the 2017 campaign for Olivares.
Olivares has all the tools you want in a classic center fielder. He has great speed and a great glove. His speed has been shown off on the base paths as he has currently swiped 16 bases and has only been caught 5 times. While roaming the outfield for the mighty Lugnuts he has had 162 chances and registered just 5 errors.
This is with 70 starts while playing all 3 positions in the outfield. The majority of those starts have been in right and center while 4 have been in left field. He oddly has committed 3 of those 5 errors in those four starts in left. He has registered 144 putouts and has 5 assists from the outfield.
As of the past few weeks, Olivares has really been taking off. In his last 10 games, he has been a force at the plate. He is batting .356 and has had at least 1 hit in 9 of those 10 games. He has also had a multi-hit game in of those games and is currently on a 7 game hitting streak. The production has also been there as he has scored 12 runs and driven in 9. All while showing the power he has displayed this season with 3 home runs in that span.
As illustrated Edward Olivares is quickly looking like a possible key performer within the Toronto Blue Jays Organization. He has been quietly been putting together a tremendous season with the Lansing Lugnuts and should be in the conversation for the Top 30 Prospects within this great system. As he continues to hone his craft we will watch with excitement here at Jays Journal and keep you posted on his budding talents.