Lefty prospect Olivarez shows off 'live arm'

March 1st, 2021

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The future can show up in unlikely places and times. The Rockies unveiled theirs -- 20-year-old lefty -- in the last two innings of a 10-0, six-inning Cactus League loss to the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch on Monday.

Olivarez showed the fluid delivery and loose, athletic movements that have the club speaking in excited tones. Olivarez sits at No. 18 on the Rockies’ MLB Pipeline prospect list, but the Rockies haven’t been shy about saying he is their best young mound prospect.

Contact against Olivarez was weak until Dodgers prospect Omar Estevez lashed an opposite-way RBI double off the right-field wall. The hit followed a walk, and falling behind in the count was the sole quibble about the performance.

All in all, Olivarez is a name the Rockies will tout. His will be one worth following on Minor League reports.

“It’s a live arm, it’s a live fastball,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “The ingredients are there. He really has to put in the development over time in the next year or two to clean some things up, but it looks right.

“He looked comfortable. He looked under control, looks like he doesn’t scare off.”

Olivarez led Rookie-level Grand Junction with 61 strikeouts in 11 starts in 2019. The pandemic wiped out last season, but the Rockies refused to let Olivarez’s development go by the wayside. They brought him to the alternate training site and used him in the Arizona instructional program before adding him to the 40-man Major League roster this past winter.

On Sunday, Rockies pitching coordinator Doug Linton said Olivarez is “our best pitching prospect at this time,” and Black seconded that endorsement.

“I agree with Doug,” Black said. “It’s a big league arm. The velocity is there. It looks like he’s going to be able to spin the breaking ball. He’s got good feel for a changeup. He’s physical. That’s only going to increase.

“He probably has our highest upside of any of our young pitchers in the Minor Leagues.”