5 Pittsburgh Pirates prospects who are turning their seasons around

A handful of the Pirates' top prospects didn't get off to good starts to 2024, but have started to turn their campaigns around for the better.
Jul 29, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first round draft pick Termarr Johnson,  the fourth overall player drafted in the 2022 MLB Draft, enters the dugout for batting practice before the Pirates host the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 29, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first round draft pick Termarr Johnson, the fourth overall player drafted in the 2022 MLB Draft, enters the dugout for batting practice before the Pirates host the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Lonnie White Jr.

Lonnie White Jr. showed a ton of potential in 2023. He finally played enough to get an extended look and put up a 139 wRC+ between the Pirates’ Florida Complex League affiliate and A-Ball Bradenton. The Pirates made the bold move to send White Jr. to High-A despite only having 200 plate appearances with Bradenton the year prior. For a while, White Jr. looked overmatched for High-A.

At the end of May, White Jr. was batting .164/.270/.367. He was striking out just over a third of the time with a 33.7% K%, and he also wasn’t walking a ton with an 8.1% walk rate. Of the few silver linings, White Jr. was at least hitting for some power with a .203 isolated slugging percentage, but that still resulted in a wRC+ of just 80 and a sub-.300 wOBA. A batting average on balls in play below .200 was not helping White Jr. out at all, but it’s still worrisome when he’s not walking a ton and is striking out often.

But since that point, White Jr. put together a nice month of May. He upped his line to a .236/.337/.486 triple slash. He’s also hit for more pop, with a .250 isolated slugging, and has begun drawing more walks with a 10.8% BB%. Strikeouts are still giving him some trouble, with a 27.7% K%, but it’s an improvement over what he had in April and May. All told, White Jr. has a .372 wOBA and 127 wRC+. White Jr. ended June on an extremely high note with a 1.152 OPS, .506 wOBA, 210 wRC+, and a sub-25% K% through his last 47 plate appearances.

White Jr. unfortunately landed on the injured list at the start of July. What he was doing in June was extremely promising. Hopefully, he will not be out too long, and he can pick up where he left off with his impressive month of June.