With the Pirates taking Henry Davis with the first overall pick in 2021, they were able to save money and draft several high upside prep players, signing them away from a college commitment.
That means there were plenty of young prospects to get excited about entering the system. Anthony Solometo and Bubba Chandler were the biggest of the prep additions. They both found their way to Bradenton this past season, and showed why they were so highly touted during the draft process.
We are still waiting to get an opportunity to see the promise from another prep player, thanks to an unfortunate injury.
When it comes to raw tools and pure athleticism, there are few players that can match what Lonnie White brings to the table. The outfielder was on his way to Penn State to play baseball and football as a wide receiver. He was also pretty good at basketball, this slam dunk was from high school back in 2019, two years before the Pirates drafted him.
— Malvern Prep Basketball (@mpfriarhoops) December 15, 2019
On the diamond White has plus speed and has flashed some very intriguing raw power. In just 40 plate appearances in his career, White has three home runs and two doubles. In what is a reminder of how young he is, and how little he’s played at the pro level, he’s also struck out 17 times.
In just nine games in the FCL in 2021 after being drafted, White picked up eight hits, four were for extra-bases (two doubles, two home runs).
Unfortunately an elbow injury limited him to just two games in 2022, and he will enter next season at 20-years-old with just those 40 plate appearances under his belt.
Welcome back, Lonnie White Jr. pic.twitter.com/TOCkXmhKrL
— Pirates Talk (@PITPiratesChat) July 23, 2022
With the ability to hit a baseball like this, it doesn’t seem crazy to think he can easily catch up for any missed time.
We got a taste at what the upside can bring from the 2021 draft class this past season, and that’s before even mentioning the likes of White, Owen Kellington, and Braylon Bishop also in the mix.
Jordan Lawlar and Marcelo Mayer both got off to great starts in their professional career, and while the Pirates could have had either, they opted for an approach that increased their odds by adding several high potential players and eventually contributions from multiple players as opposed to just one.
Highlight of the Day
Blake Sabol crushed a grand slam last night! pic.twitter.com/Uktv3IdzBD
— Young Bucs (@YoungBucsPIT) October 20, 2022
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Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.