P2Daily: Three Pirates 2022 Draft Picks Who Hit Ground Running in Pro Ball

The Pirates spread out their draft pool money beyond the first round in 2021. In 2022, they went a little more top heavy with their spending. They went over-slot on fourth overall pick Termarr Johnson, whereas they saved slot money on their top pick in 2021 with Henry Davis.

Once Johnson signed, he jumped right into getting his professional career underway, and he wasn’t the only one. The last two years the Pirates have been cautious with the pitchers that they have picked. With the draft now taking place in July, a lot of pitchers haven’t thrown in some time by draft time, so they don’t want to take a risk.

They’ve had no problems getting the position players into the mix, and this year was no different. The team’s top three drafted hitters were able to get things going, and ended up with nearly 300 plate appearances combined.

Termarr Johnson – 4th Overall

Pittsburgh selected the prep infielder from Georgia with the fourth pick, and he got things going as soon as possible after signing. Johnson jumped into the Florida Complex League to get his feet wet in pro ball. He initially struggled there, but really turning it on after getting moved up to Single-A Bradenton.

Johnson slashed .275/.396/.450 with a 139 wRC+ while playing with the Marauders. He showed great plate awareness, walking 18.6% of the time in Bradenton (and 19.5% overall). He picked up his first professional home run, an inside-the-park, and belted six overall doubles.

Despite the rough showing in the FCL, Johnson still finished with an overall wRC+ of 114. The most impressive thing about his showing was the fact he showed such a great approach, despite playing as an 18-year-old in Single-A.

His bat is advanced enough that he could head straight to Greensboro to begin 2023, but with just 53 plate appearances in Bradenton, it’s likely he at least starts in Single-A again.

Jack Brannigan – 83rd Overall

The product of Notre Dame was drafted as a two-way player, showing an upper-90s fastball on the mound. He wants to hit at the professional level, and that’s all he did after signing and playing in 2022. 

After just two games in the FCL, Brannigan jumped straight to Bradenton and immediately started to make an impact with the bat, and on the bases. Brannigan hit the ball hard, but also showed some speed, stealing five bases in his first two weeks with Bradenton. He also picked up four extra-base hits (two home runs, two doubles) and put up a wRC+ of 166.

He struggled down the stretch (58 wRC+ the rest of the season), picking up only two more extra-base hits. He batted just .153, and was one-for-three stealing bases.

It will be interesting in how the Pirates manage Brannigan, and how they incorporate him on the mound. The bat was looking like it could make the jump to Greensboro, but the pitching makes it more of a question.

Tres Gonzalez – 140th Overall

Drafted out of Georgia Tech, Gonzalez was one of the better college hitters in the draft, but didn’t seem to be a fit in center field. There were questions about how much power he would hit for at the next level.

After just one game in the FCL, Gonzalez joined the Marauders and showed some of that approach that allowed him to succeed in college. Gonzalez struck out just 12 times in 95 plate appearances (12.6%), while walking another nine times (9.5%).

He didn’t hit for much power, just five extra-base hits and no home runs, but did make the contact you would expect for an advanced college hitter playing in Single-A. 

If there is a player that is the most likely to make the jump straight to Greensboro, it’s going to be Gonzalez.

Highlight of the Day

Pirates Prospects Daily

By Tim Williams

Tuesday is the deadline for the Pirates to add players to the 40-man roster, protecting them from the Rule 5 draft. Ethan Hullihen has your preview, with his predictions on who to protect.

**Pirates Business: Who Do The Pirates Need to Protect From the Rule 5 Draft?

John Dreker has the latest updates from the winter leagues. Check back at 8 AM today for a loaded update from the weekend. We will have our AFL season recap in Tuesday’s article drop, breaking down the championship season for Surprise.

**Winter Leagues: Nice Games for Dylan Shockley and Andres Alvarez

**AFL Recap: Nick Gonzales Helps Saguaros to AFL Championship

Missed yesterday’s updates? Check out yesterday’s P2Daily, where Anthony featured Blake Sabol.

**P2Daily: Blake Sabol Answered The Call In 2022

Song of the Day

Pirates Prospects Weekly

Who would you protect on Tuesday? Head over to Ethan’s article, read the list, and leave your thoughts in the comments.

Pirates Business: Who Do The Pirates Need to Protect From the Rule 5 Draft?

I’ll have my Rule 5 thoughts at noon today in First Pitch.

Weekly Pirates Discussion

This week’s discussion looks at free agent targets for the 2023 rotation.

Weekly Pirates Discussion: Free Agent Targets For the 2023 Rotation

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.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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joesolo6181

lets see what Jack Brannigan can do on the mound. I don’t think he can make it as a hitter as his numbers declined sharply after a hot start.

k1rainey

I wonder if since Johnson is so young they would lean towards keeping him in the secure environment of Bradenton longer than his talent would dictate. Then fast track him to AA

ArkyWags

I’d think he gets maybe 2/3 of the year in Bradenton and then up to Greensboro if he does well. And in 2024, he does 1/3 of the year there, then the rest in the ‘Toona.

PirateRican21

I like that thinking. But he might better off getting challenged.

Last edited 2 months ago by PirateRican21
bianco599

It would be interesting if some one asked each prospect which level they think they should be starting in. Not where they are put by management. Would be neat to see how confident some of these guys are in their ability.

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