3 prospects the Pirates should trade if they are buyers at deadline

The Pirates should be willing to move these prospects to acquire major league talent at the deadline.
Florida pitcher Hunter Barco (12) fields a bunt and throws to first to record an out against Mississippi State during the SEC Tournament Tuesday, May 26, 2021, in the Hoover Met in Hoover, Alabama. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Sec Tournament Florida Vs Mississippi State
Florida pitcher Hunter Barco (12) fields a bunt and throws to first to record an out against Mississippi State during the SEC Tournament Tuesday, May 26, 2021, in the Hoover Met in Hoover, Alabama. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.] Sec Tournament Florida Vs Mississippi State / Gary Cosby Jr. via Imagn Content
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Lonnie White Jr.

Anthony Solometo isn’t the only prospect on today’s list who signed an overslot deal during the 2021 draft. Outfielder Lonnie White Jr. was another high school prospect the Pirates took in the second round as their competitive balance pick. While he’s a risky prospect, the Pirates should take advantage of his sky-high ceiling. 

White Jr.’s 2024 hasn’t been great. He’s batting a mediocre .190/.294/.410. He has 11 homers, a .220 isolated slugging percentage, and a 9.1% walk rate. However, this is where the positives end regarding his numbers for the year. He’s also struck out slightly over 30% of the time, with a 31.6% K% and a below-average 97 wRC+.

But to White’s credit, he is getting better. The outfielder slashed .236/.337/.486 with a .372 wOBA and 127 wRC+ during June. He improved his walk rate to above 10% at 10.8%, while cutting his K% down below 30% to 27.7%. While that K% is still a tad high, he was striking out over a third of the time prior to June. He’s been even better in the final few weeks of June, striking out less than 25% of the time with three homers in his last 38 plate appearances.

White is still considered a top 10 prospect in the Pirates’ system by MLB Pipeline and top 20 by Baseball America. He’s ranked so highly because his potential evokes a 20/20 threat with Gold Glove-caliber defense. White is a plus-plus runner with well above-average raw power. He definitely has a chance to be a great center fielder, but his arm is strong enough that it can play in a corner as well.

The Pirates might net something pretty good with White Jr. involved. While he is a risky prospect, there is a reason why he’s considered one of the better prospects in the Pirates’ system. Teams will buy into his ceiling if the Pirates make him available in trade talks.