Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Minor League Season Predictions

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Biggest Position Player Breakout
Lonnie White Jr.

I could go with a less bold option here and a less risky one like Tsung-Che Cheng or Yordany De Los Santos, but Lonnie White Jr. certainly is both bold and risky. The top outfield prospect will likely miss at least the first month to month-and-a-half of 2023; however, once he's back to 100%, he has the potential to become what the Pirates saw in him back when they signed him to a big over slot deal in 2021.

It's not as if White Jr. hasn't shown he can be a highly productive player. In 40 career plate appearances, White Jr. has batted .263/.300/.579 with a .388 wOBA and 123 wRC+. He's shown off his power potential in the small sample size, hitting for an ISO over .300 (.316) and hitting three home runs. Not only is White Jr. a risky pick here because of his injury, but he has also struck out 17 times to oppose just two base-on-balls (42.5% strikeout rate, 5% walk rate).

On the flip side of things, White Jr. has the tools to become one of the Bucs' best prospects. He has lightning-quick bat speed, which helps him generate above-average pop. He's also one of if not the fastest minor leaguer the Pirates have, and he's an outstanding defensive outfielder. He has the potential to be a 20/20 Gold Glove threat from center field but has the arm to play in a corner if need be.

Sure, with his injury and the strikeouts, White Jr. is one of the Pirates' highest-risk, but his tools make him one of the team's highest-reward prospects as well. Once he returns to Bradenton in late May/early June, I think he'll rebound after a rough start to 2023 and finish the year on an extremely high note.