With day one of the MLB Draft in the books, Pirates fans saw three picks go Pittsburgh’s way. Those three Pirates’ picks were INF Termarr Johnson, RHP Thomas Harrington, and LHP Hunter Barco. Some might say that the Pirates’ draft so far wasn’t as splashy as the 2021 draft, but Pittsburgh got their man at number four overall in Johnson. A lot was said about Johnson, so let’s get into the meat and potatoes of this thing.
“We felt really good about our board entering the night,” said Pirates general manager Ben Cherington. “I think having that confidence in the order made us feel comfortable letting the draft come to us. We certainly were really excited when [Johnson] was there and excited to get a chance to work with him.”
Unlike some teams, the Pirates find themselves with a plethora of middle-infield prospects. Johnson has been added to the middle infield mix with Oneil Cruz, Nick Gonzales, Liover Peguero, and others vying for middle-infield supremacy. Some fans do, however, have reservations about the Pirates selecting yet another middle-infielder.
“Johnson was the best player available at number four,” said Cherington. “We are looking to take the best player available anytime we pick and get as many good players as we can. We know to win, we have to have a lot of good players, and we think Johnson has a chance to be one of them. We were not focused on any particular position or demographic.”
One of the biggest things we heard about Johnson was that he was one of the best high school hitters in decades, and his swing should be marveled for the bat-to-ball skill alone. What are some of the things did the Pirates see that made Johnson stand out to Pittsburgh at number four?
“I think a couple of things foundationally make Johnson special,” said the Pirates Senior Director of Amateur Scouting, Joe DelliCarri. “Johnson is passionate about his dynamics in the box and is intense about the small details that go into his offensive game. He likes to hit, but he knows more about hitting than most kids, and he’s passionate about it, and we think that’s going to continue, and that’s what we like a lot about him.”
One of the knocks on Johnson is on the defensive side of the ball. MLB Pipeline has him listed as a second baseman due to his lack of a “plus arm or plus quickness,” according to Pipeline. Where do the Pirates stand on this matter, you might ask.
“Johnson will go out as a shortstop,” said Cherington. “We think Johnson can play there. We believe in him as a defender and think he has the instincts to defend and make plays. We think Johnson does a lot of good things defensively, and we’re going to get his career started as a shortstop and see how he progresses.”
Seeing how Johnson’s career unfolds will surely be a fun experience from both a fan’s and a writer’s perspective. We have no idea how Johnson’s career will turn out at this point, but it will surely be fun to watch unfold as the months turn into years.