2023 was the first full professional season for 2022 first-round pick Termarr Johnson, and he showed why the Pittsburgh Pirates selected him no. 4 overall in the draft
There may not be a position player prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system who is more ballyhooed and has a higher ceiling than second baseman Termarr Johnson. During his first full professional season, Johnson put the tools that make him such a high-ceiling prospect on display.
After playing 14 games with Low-A Bradenton in 2022, that is where Johnson's 2023 season began. The results came in a bit of a different fashion, but, all in all, Johnson picked up where he left off in 2022 - hitting the baseball.
In 330 plate apperances across 75 games played for the Marauders in 2023 Johnson hit for a .244/.419/.448 slash line wit ha 141 wRC+. He had a 21.8% walk rate, 26.7% strikeout rate, and a strong isolated slugging (ISO) of .204. With the Marauders, Johnson hit 13 home runs while collecting 24 extra base hits in total.
This success led to Johnson earning a promotion to the High-A level. With the Greensboro Grasshoppers, Johnson had 132 PAs in 30 games played. Just as he did with Bradenton, Johnson put up impressive offensive numbers with the Grasshoppers.
Johnson hit for a .242/.427/.414 slash line with a 142 wRC+ with Greensboro. He hit 5 home runs and a pair of doubles to post a .172 ISO. Johnson walked at a 22.0% clip while his strikeout rate dropped slightly to 24.2%.
One of the most impressive aspects of Johnson's season was his age. He was just 18-years-old when the season began, and did not turn 19 until June. To hit the way he did at Single-A, especially when he reached High-A, as a teenager is remarkable.
For a hitter to put up the results Johnson did at his age and at those levels, they have to possess a borderline elite hit tool. That was always what Johnson was known for as a draft prospect, having a potentially elite hit tool, so maybe it should not come as a surprise to see him have the success he did. Regardless, it is extremely encouraging to see him put those tools to use in games.
Johnson displayed an elite walk/on-base tool this past season. While his strikeout rate was a but higher than you would like to see, it did trend in the correct decision as the season went on and having a bit of an inflated strikeout rate is not a huge surprise for a hitter his age.
The power Johnson flashed is what really turned heads. In his 462 PAs between Bradenton and Greensboro, he hit 18 home runs, to go with 30 extra base hits and an ISO of .195. Strong numbers for any hitters, but especially a teenage hitter.
Looking ahead to 2024, Johnson will likely begin the season back with Greensboro. However, if he puts together a season that is resembles what he did in 2023 then he should find himself with Double-A Altoona before the end of the season. The future for Johnson appears to be extremely bright.