Before he ever signed a professional contract, there was a lot of hype built up around the Pirates 2022 first round pick, Termarr Johnson. Some media outlets put out some pretty lofty comparisons, and deemed him one of the best prep hitters to come out the draft in recent history.
So, it was a little concerning that he struggled out the gate the way he did.
Recently, on June 14, Johnson had a career day, going 4-for-4 and reaching base all six times he came to the plate. He fell a triple short of the cycle, while also picking up a pair of doubles.
The huge day at the plate really drives home the point of him starting to turn things around.
He had three batted balls with an exit velocity of over 100 mph, maxing out at 106.4. More importantly, within that 4-hit day, he flashed a lot of the hit tool that allowed him to be so highly regarded during the draft.
I wanted to take a look at some of his at-bats, and highlight a few things I really liked seeing from Johnson, on top of the obvious hits he picked up that day.
First Hit – Home Run
If you are going to throw in on hitters, especially repeatedly, you better not miss. Fort Myers pitcher Miguelangel Boadas threw each pitch in on Johnson, actually getting him to swing and miss on one of them.
Johnson makes the quick adjustment, and timing down, and doesn’t miss two pitches later when the pitcher misses a little too far in.
Good hitters take advantage of a pitcher trying to do the same thing over and over again without changing it up, and that’s what happened here.
Third Hit – Single
Again, good hitters take advantage of mistakes, and are patient enough to let it come to them.
Johnson showed a little bit why he actually has a better average against lefties currently (he’s faced far more righties, but he’s still done well against southpaws). He holds off on a couple of sliders away as the pitcher alternates between them and fastballs.
He gets the second fastball a little too far in the zone and Johnson rips it down the first base line for a single.
Fourth Hit – Double
This was my favorite at bat of the day for Johnson, as at this point he only needed a triple for the cycle.
He works himself into a 3-1 count, and gets a fastball right on the inner corner for a called strike two. It would have probably been easy to go after a pitch like that, chasing the opportunity to get the personal glory of a triple and cycle, but Termarr waits, willing to take a walk.
His patience is rewarded with getting a fastball left up and too far over the plate the he is able to drive down the first base line for his second double of the day. The first one came on the first pitch of his second at-bat.
— Pittsburgh Pirates Player Development Report (@PGHplayerDev) June 14, 2023
Johnson would walk his final two plate appearances, missing out on the cycle, but would have to ‘settle’ for reaching base six total times on the day.
A slow start shouldn’t have been a big surprise, given his age and an injury preventing him from having a real Spring Training. We are starting to see why his hitting was so highly touted coming into the draft.
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.