Pittsburgh Pirates: Double-A Core Four Off to a Hot Start

BRADENTON, FLORIDA - MARCH 02: Oneil Cruz #61 of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on during the second inning against the Detroit Tigers during a spring training game at LECOM Park on March 02, 2021 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
BRADENTON, FLORIDA - MARCH 02: Oneil Cruz #61 of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on during the second inning against the Detroit Tigers during a spring training game at LECOM Park on March 02, 2021 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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Mar 1, 2021; Sarasota, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates Canaan Smith-Njigba (92) poses during media day at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: MLB Photos via USA Today Sports
Mar 1, 2021; Sarasota, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates Canaan Smith-Njigba (92) poses during media day at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: MLB Photos via USA Today Sports /

Outfielder Canaan Smith-Njigba

The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Smith-Njigba in the Jameson Taillon trade. Thus far that trade is looking like a major steal for the Pirates, and the strong start to the 2021 season for Smith-Njigba is a big reason why.

In his first taste of Double-A pitching, Smith-Njigba is hitting for a .310/.434/.548 slash line to go with a 165 wRC+ through his first 53 PAs. He’s hit 2 home runs and collected 4 doubles, giving him a .238 ISO.

Smith-Njigba has also displayed a great eye at the plate. He has a tremendous 18.9% walk rate, which is countered by a strikeout rate of just 17.0%. This kind of plate presence and patience from a young hitter, Smith-Njigba just turned 22 at the end of April, is always an encouraging sign to see.

Next. Jacob Stallings Should be an All-Star. dark

When Smith-Njigba was acquired from the Yankees he was viewed as a potential plus power hitter with a great eye at the plate who could climb through the farm system quickly. Thus far, Smith-Njigba has displayed all of these traits. At this rate it would be a surprise if he is not in Triple-A by the end of the season.

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