Pittsburgh Pirates: Rum Bunter's Top 10 Prospects

A Look at our top ten Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects
Jul 18, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes (left) is
Jul 18, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes (left) is / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Number Two - Second Baseman Termarr Johnson

Termarr Johnson is our number one position player prospect, and our second-best Pirate prospect right now. The Pirates signed Johnson for what was a record breaking amount of money at the time, the most a 4th overall pick had been given (the Texas Rangers and Wyatt Langford surpassed that this year). Johnson might not be having the massive season that some may have expected, but he’s still done well and is now at High-A ball after starting the year at Bradenton. There’s a very good chance he is at Altoona before his 20th birthday.

Johnson has played most of his season at Bradenton where he hit .244/.419/.448 with a .414 wOBA, and 141 wRC+. The second baseman went yard 13 times while also walking at an extremely high 21.8% rate. The downside is that Johnson struck out 26.7% of the time. However, he did significantly cut that down as the season went on. An extremely hot month of July earned the infielder a promotion to Greensboro, but the numbers haven’t translated over.

While Johnson has nearly replicated the same walk rate and strikeout rate, he also has just a .194 batting average thus far. But do keep in mind that this is an extremely small sample size. Johnson hasn’t even had 100 plate appearances yet. He’s getting burned by a .231 batting average on balls in play, which could be a result of the small sample size. In Johnson’s defense, he has been much better as of recently, with a 182 wRC+ and OPS over 1.000 over his last 51 trips to the plate. He’s walked 13 times but has also struck out 14 times.

Johnson’s strikeouts are a bit of a surprise. He was praised for his hit tool, as well as his plate discipline, and vision. It was arguably his best tools. Johnson still could be the future .300 hitter some projected, though. The second baseman has hit for plus power, which isn’t a major surprise. He showed off the potential of being a 20+ home run threat. Although the Pirates drafted him as a shortstop, he projects as a second baseman, albeit a solid one. Johnson has also displayed decent speed.

Johnson was one of the youngest top prospects in the 2022 draft. The Pirates took him barely a month after his 18th birthday. Like with Solometo, the fact that he’s at Greensboro is a notable feat. Johnson could very well be a teenager still but at Double-A Altoona next year. For reference of how rare that is, there have only been 18 players over the last five minor league seasons to still be in their age 19 or younger season and receive at least 50 plate appearances.