Pittsburgh Pirates: Keep an Eye on Canaan Smith-Njigba

Mandatory Credit: MLB Photos via USA Today Sports
Mandatory Credit: MLB Photos via USA Today Sports /
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The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired multiple prospects from the New York Yankees last offseason.  Another one of those prospects could make his debut this season.

On January 24th, 2021 Ben Cherington linked up with Brian Cashman to work out a massive trade.  In the deal, the Pittsburgh Pirates sent former #2 overall pick Jameson Taillon to the Yankees in exchange for a package of 4 prospects. It was a strong return at the time for the Bucs and since then it has looked even better with the development of Roansy Contreras.

One of the other players that was involved in the trade was Canaan Smith-Njigba.  Smith-Njigba was probably the lowest rated of the prospects in the deal, but there is still plenty of upside in the outfielder. He should have a chance at the Pittsburgh Pirates roster at some point this season.

Last year, Smith-Njigba spent most of the year with Double-A Altoona.  He did get a chance at Triple-A late in the season but only for a total of 7 games. During his 63 games at Double-A, Smith-Njigba posted a solid slash line of .274/.398/.406.  He also had 17 extra-base hits to go along with 13 stolen bases.

Smith Njigba showed off his athleticism last season.  He showed some pop and speed which is always a great combination to have from a player.  This should not be all that surprising as he comes from an athletic family, his brother Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a standout wide receiver for the Ohio State Buckeyes football team.

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The fact that Smith-Njigba is athletic should help him make his way to the roster at some point in 2022.  Obviously, he needs to be productive at Triple-A to give himself a true shot at being called up in 2022.  However, the fact that he can play both corner outfield spots could get him a look sooner than others.  He is definitely someone who will get a chance to be in the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup at some point this season, hopefully, he can take that next step forward.

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