Yesterday, I wrote about the 2016 season for Matt Wisler. As we inch closer to the much anticipated 2016 Opening Day, I will try to give you as much insight into what to expect from the 2016 Atlanta Braves. Next on my list is Hector Olivera.
Last year on July 30, the Braves sent Alex Wood (Lie down, try not to cry, cry a lot), Jim Johnson, and a few minor leaguers to the LA Dodger for Hector Olivera, Paco Rodriguez, and the 35th pick in the 2016 Draft. As a huge fan of Alex Wood, I was baffled. Why in the world are the Braves trading away a young, healthy, and talented Alex Wood for an unproven and aging Hector Olivera? With the Braves, Olivera hit .253 with 12 strikeouts in 79 at bats. As the 2015 season came to a close, Hector Olivera continued to struggle. And by the end of the season I wanted to put my head through the wall.
But here is why I haven’t. Take this into consideration. Olivera was drafted by the Dodgers in 2015 out of Cuba. He speaks very little English and is new to the country. And on top of that, the team that drafted him, traded him shortly after. That is a lot of stress to go through. Also, Hector Olivera is putting in work. According to MLB.com, during the offseason Olivera spent time with Criollos de Caguas (a Puerto Rican team) playing left field and working on his swing. He also spent time with Braves Hitting Coach, Kevin Seitzer, and worked to improve his mechanics. And so far, the results are pretty impressive. So far in Spring Training, Olivera is hitting .385, but still has a good amount of strikeouts. But then again this Spring Training, and these numbers are not a very good indicator of how the player’s season will go. But, we can still hope for the best, right?