Pittsburgh Pirates: Ranking the Prospects Acquired This Offseason

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Pittsburgh Pirates
Mar 12, 2020; Bradenton, Florida, USA; A general view of LECOM Park during the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Toronto Blue Jays . Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Canaan Smith-Njigba

Now we’re getting into our top 5 starting with left fielder Canaan Smith-Njigba. Smith-Nijgba broke out in his first season of pro ball. Through 528 plate appearances, the lefty batter had a .307/.405/.465 line. He didn’t have big home run power in 2020 with just 11 home runs, but he racked up 32 doubles, has a 55-future game power grade and 60-future raw power grade.

All told, he has a .398 wOBA and 154 wRC+. Smith-Njigba has great plate discipline. In every season of his career, he’s put up a walk rate above 10%. Throughout 2019, he had a 14% walk rate and 20.5% strikeout rate.

Although Smith-Njigba isn’t a fast runner with a speed grade of just 40, he’s a smart base runner. He’s swiped 21 bases in 28 attempts so far in his 226 career games. In 2019, he swiped 16 in 20 attempts. Smith is likely going to stay as a primary left fielder with a 45-future fielding and throw grade.

Smith-Njigba’s 6-foot, 210 frame could help him generate more power. 2021 will be his age 22-season. He’ll likely start the year out at High-A, but if he keeps hitting like he did in 2019, then it’s not out of the question he gets a few plate appearances at Triple-A by the end of the season.