Pittsburgh Pirates: Best Prospect at Each Position

Here is the best Pirates prospect at each position.
2023 - P Paul Skenes, Pirates
2023 - P Paul Skenes, Pirates / Gary Cosby Jr. / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Second Base - Termarr Johnson

Termarr Johnson was a big draft pick in 2022. Johnson signed for a massive $7.219 million bonus. While it only lasted for one year, and was surpassed by Wyatt Langford this past draft, Johnson still has the second highest signing bonus ever given to a 4th overall pick, and by a fair margin of just $210K. Johnson’s first season was promising, but it did have some ups and downs.

Johnson’s first half of the season was good, but concerning. He hit .231/.398/.402 with a .388 wOBA, and 126 wRC+. The second baseman showed off plus power and had a .171 isolated slugging percentage. Known for his patience at the plate, Johnson walked at a 20.6% rate. But the worrying factor was his 30.7% K-rate.

Johnson put the first half behind him, however, and had a fantastic second half, one of the best among Pirates’ prospects this season. Johnson batted .260/.451/.487 with a .437 wOBA, and 161 wRC+. Johnson upped his already elite walk rate to 23.4%, and improved his power output to a .227 isolated slugging percentage. But the massive and most promising development was his 20% strikeout rate,  a whopping 10.7% drop from the first half.

The second baseman may have been the best pure hitter the draft had seen in quite a while when the Bucs took him #4. Johnson easily has the potential to be a .300/.400/.500 batter in the future. Johnson is an above average runner with plus power potential. There could be a couple 30 home run seasons from him, but he should regularly sit with 20-25 dingers, with a few 20/20 seasons sprinkled in between.

Johnson was drafted as a shortstop, and while the Pirates have given him some time at the position as a professional, second base looks like his long term home. He’s more than an adequate defensive second baseman, and probably could be a shortstop if the Pirates really wanted him to be one, though the arm and range plays better at the keystone rather than short. 

Johnson is still only 19 years old, and like many of the prospects we will talk about today, that’s pretty young for that level. Johnson made it to High-A ball where he had 132 plate appearances. He was the 13th youngest player at that level and the 6th youngest player in the South Atlantic League to take at least 130 trips to the plate. Johnson could start the year at Altoona, given how well he did at Greensboro, though at just 19 and won’t turn 20 until June 11th, there’s no rush for Johnson.

Honorable mentions: Mitch Jebb