Pittsburgh Pirates: Taking a Deeper Look at Lonnie White Jr.
By Marty Foster
The Pittsburgh Pirates continued their strong draft with the selection of speedy prep outfielder Lonnie White Jr. with the 64th overall selection
Day two of the MLB Draft was extremely exciting for fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates. General Manager Ben Cherington and his team have added a plethora of guys with high ceilings and have continued to improve the system.
After having sign-ability concerns because of his commitment to Penn State University to play wide receiver for the Nittany Lions, Lonnie White Jr., a potential first-round pick in the eyes of many scouts, fell all to the Pittsburgh Pirates at pick 64.
Obviously athletic, the 6’3” 212 pound outfielder has a current 70 grade run tool and 50 grade arm, according to MLB Pipeline and is already a well rounded center fielder. There’s absolutely no doubt that White will stay in the outfield defensively, and make plays on the base paths.
At only 18 years-old, White is very raw in terms of his skill set and is still growing. There’s thought from many that it will take quite some time for Lonnie to develop into what he’s capable of and he’s considered a “high-ceiling” project type prospect. The bat has shown at times that it will be absolutely worth that risk, he’s shown plus power and the ability to catch up to velocity. Focusing on baseball without worrying about football will definitely help him out in a major way going forward.
White clearly already has the frame to build on when it comes to the power aspect of his game, part of his development process will be learning to use that to his advantage. Lonnie White Jr. ranked 32nd on Baseball America’s big board, which would essentially make him a first-round talent.
While White Jr. may take years to develop, the PittsburghPirates nabbed one of the highest upside players in the entire draft with the 64th overall pick, which is an absolute steal in my book. Now the question is how can the Pirates develop him, and as of now Cherington and company have given us no reason to think they aren’t prepared to get the absolute best out of him going forward. The Pirates must now attempt to sign him away from Penn State, which they believe they can do.