Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Canaan Smith-Njigba Heating Up

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates need as many of their top prospects to work out as possible.  Looks like one is breaking out in Double-A.

When the Pittsburgh Pirates sent pitcher Jameson Taillon to the New York Yankees they received a package of four prospects in return.  Some worried, that this was going to be a quantity-over-quality deal.  However, Ben Cherington has made it clear that he looks for specific types of players, ones whose trajectory is pointed upward.  All four of the prospects acquired in the deal have had tremendous starts in the Pittsburgh Pirates Organization.

Canaan Smith-Njigba has been a solid hitter at Double-A so far. In 182 plate appearances, he’s hitting .2268/.372/.405 with a .353 wOBA, and 119 wRC+. Smith-Njigba got off to a slow start to the season but has been on fire since early June. In his last 80 trips to the plate, the left-handed outfielder is hitting .325/.413/.463, which is very similar to his 2019 batting line of .307/.405/.465. Overall, he’s had a .391 wOBA and 143 wRC+ during this hot streak.

Smith-Njigba definitely has the raw power to be a plus power hitter, but he’s yet to fully translate that into game power. Though it’s extremely promising he’s making good, consistent contact with the ball while displaying a solid eye at the plate. He’s walked 14.8% of the time, though he has gone down on strikes nearly a quarter of the time (24.7%). Something to keep an eye on as he advances through the season and eventually at Triple-A.

The video above shows off some of his power potential.  While it was only his fourth of the season, one can see there is more in that bat.  As Smith-Njigba continues to develop so will his power.  He has a compact frame standing at 6’0” and weighing around 230 pounds, so there is definitely raw power to be tapped into yet as well.

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If there is a lineup to be watching right now it is the Altoona Curve.  The Pittsburgh Pirates lack Major League power, but there is hope down in Altoona.  Smith-Njigba is just one of the many prospects who are heating up in Double-A.