Pittsburgh Pirates: Five Underrated Prospects Who Are Hot

BRADENTON, FLORIDA - MARCH 16: Carmen Mlodzinski #83 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a picture during the 2022 Photo Day at LECOM Park on March 16, 2022 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
BRADENTON, FLORIDA - MARCH 16: Carmen Mlodzinski #83 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a picture during the 2022 Photo Day at LECOM Park on March 16, 2022 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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BRADENTON, FLORIDA – MARCH 16: Canaan Smith-Njigba #28 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a picture during the 2022 Photo Day at LECOM Park on March 16, 2022 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
BRADENTON, FLORIDA – MARCH 16: Canaan Smith-Njigba #28 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a picture during the 2022 Photo Day at LECOM Park on March 16, 2022 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Outfielder Canaan Smith-Njigba

The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired four prospects in the Jameson Taillon trade. Although Roansy Contreras gets all the fame from that trade, Canaan Smith-Njigba has held his own since arriving at his new organization. Last season at Double-A Altoona, Smith-Njigba batted .276/.398/.406, leading to a .364 wOBA and 127 wRC+.

Because of his good production at Double-A, Smith-Njigba started off 2022 at Triple-A Indianapolis. However, April wasn’t too much of a bright spot for the lefty outfielder. He batted just .219/.306/.308 with a .293 wOBA, and 75 wRC+. However, since April 29th, Smith-Njigba has done nothing but hit.

His last 107 plate appearances have yielded a .305/.467/.463 line, .426 wOBA, and 161 wRC+. Smith-Njigba has walked more often than he has struck out, with a 25:23 BB:K ratio. His .159 isolated slugging percentage is also an uptick from 2021.

The Pirates have already turned to Jack Suwinski and Cal Mitchell for young outfield help, but Smith-Njigba might be on the docket next if Ben Gamel is out for an extended period of time. He’s capable of playing all three outfield positions but has spent most of his time in left field this year.

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