Lonnie White Jr.
Lonnie White Jr. is our second 2021 high school draftee. One of the most athletic outfielders of his draft class, White Jr. missed a good portion of 2022, leading to 2023 being the first extended look of White’s career. While he opened the year injured, and there were some blemishes on his final line, White certainly has the potential to be one of the Pirates’ best prospects, given more time to improve.
White Jr. finished the 2023 season batting .276/.400/.476 and hit nine home runs in 276 plate appearances. He was also aggressive on the basepaths, swiping 18 bags in 21 attempts. He also had an outstanding 15.6% walk rate, albeit with a mediocre 27.2% strikeout rate. Despite his strikeouts, White Jr. still had a quality .417 wOBA and 139 wRC+.
White Jr. missed a good portion of the first half of the season, collecting fewer than 100 plate appearances. But the second half of the year saw him stay healthy and hitting .272/.407/.524. White Jr. didn’t just have an OPS over .900 in the second half. He also reached a wOBA over .400 at .431 and a wRC+ just a touch over 150 at 151. He still struck out at a poor 26.4% rate, though it was a small improvement from the first half. He also had a powerful .252 isolated slugging percentage and a 15.9% walk rate.
White Jr. hits for power, has outstanding speed, a great glove that should stick in center field, and a decent arm. If White Jr. shows improvement in his hit tool and strikes out less frequently, he’ll take a major step forward in his prospect stock. Not only is it the one thing holding him back from potentially becoming a five-tool prospect, but it’s the only thing holding back his raw power from taking the next step forward.