Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Players Set to Benefit From a Full Season

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Lonnie White Jr.

The second player from the 2021 draft we'll look at today is Lonnie White Jr. A prep outfielder from Las Vegas, the Pittsburgh Pirates used their competitive balance pick to select White. Talented and athletic, White Jr. has the potential to become one of the Pirates' best outfield prospects by the end of the year. But he does come with some risk that makes him a bit of a wild card.

When White Jr. has been healthy enough to play, he's been fairly effective with the bat. He only has 40 plate appearances to his name, but has hit .263/.300/.579. Of his ten hits, six have gone for extra bases (three doubles and three home runs). But where White has struggled has been with his plate discipline. He's struck out 17 times with just two walks; a 42.5% strikeout rate, and a 5% walk rate.

The former Penn State wide receiver commit has the tools that point to a plus power hitter in the future. His swing creates leverage in his 6'3", 215-pound frame. He should also remain in center field long term. He's exceptionally fast, with MLB Pipeline considering him a 70-grade runner with 60-grade fielding. However, the red flags are clear. He has swing-and-miss in his game and, as indicated by his small sample size, has struggled to draw walks.

White Jr. was injured for part of last year. Had it not been for this injury, he may have ended up seeing some time at Bradenton at the tail-end of the minor league season. Although White Jr. has some issues he needs to fix and improve upon, he just turned 20 on December 31st. White Jr. should be a regular fixture in Bradenton's outfield next season. If he displays the kind of power that could hit 20 home runs, the speed to swipe 30+ bases, and potential Gold Glove fielding, look for him to shoot up prospect lists.

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