A second-round draft pick of the Tigers in 2009, Andy Oliver was regarded as a highly polished left-hander capable of reaching the major leagues in a short amount of time. Well, he reached the major leagues in June of his professional debut in 2010, and posted a 7.36 ERA over 22 innings (five starts). However, he did pitch well in 130.1 innings (3.45 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9) between Double and Triple-A.
Oliver endured a significant regression in 2011 at Triple-A Toledo, registering a 4.71 ERA, 9.1 H/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 147 innings. And, once again, he struggled in his lone opportunity in the big leagues with a 6.52 ERA, 2.8 HR/9 and 7.4 BB/9 over two starts.
His struggles continued in 2012, as he spent the entire season at Triple-A Toledo for the second straight year. Even though his hits allowed and home runs allowed rates decreased, the 25-year-old’s walk rate shot up to a career-worst 6.7 BB/9. The excessive free passes ultimately led to a move to the Mudhens’ bullpen over the second half of the season.
Oliver still has enough upside to consider using him as a starter; his fastball jumps out of his hand in the low-90s with late, arm-side action, and he still draws swing-and-misses with both breaking balls. I like this trade for the Pirates considering the Tigers clearly gave up on him last season and, therefore, made him a great change-of-scenery candidate.