This is one in a series of stories breaking down PBN’s Top 30 Pittsburgh Pirates prospects.
In the second round of the 2021 MLB draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected outfielder Lonnie White Jr. out of Malvern Preparatory in Pennsylvania. At the time, it was unclear if White would sign or play football at Penn State as a wide receiver.
Eventually, White signed with the Pirates for a $1.5 million signing bonus. For the 64th overall pick, the slot value was set at $1.05 million.
During his time with the Pirates, White has struggled to stay healthy, with just 263 career at-bats since ’21. At the beginning of 2023, the Pirates placed the righty on the 60-day IL.
On June 5, the Pirates put White in his first game of the ’23 season in the Florida Complex League, where he spent 17 games to get his feet wet.
On July 4, White received the call up to Low-A Bradenton. He struggled in the first month with a slash line of .211/.370/.316. Eventually, White got the hang of things in August.
White smashed four of his eight homers in August and carried an OPS of 1.018. In addition, White drove in 17 runs and held a slash line of .290/.424/.594 in 69 at-bats (18 games).
The young outfielder has a lot of potential. In 44 games at Low-A, White accrued a wRC+ of 140 and a wOBA of .413.
The unfortunate part for White is the lack of playing time, so we must focus more on the potential tools. According to FanGraphs, White has the tools to be a multi-threat athlete.
The Las Vegas native has a future fielding grade of 60, a speed tool of 70, and a future raw power of 55. Not quite Ronald Acuña Jr., but White has all of the ability to make things happen in multiple facets.
The most intriguing part of White’s game is his speed. The outfielder fits the mold, with the Pirates going towards a more speed/athletic game plan.
During his limited ’23 season, White stole 18 bases and legged out what most people consider singles in doubles. Again, it’s a matter of White being healthy for an entire season.
The good news is he is only 20 years old and won’t turn 21 until Dec. 31. There is still plenty of time to make up for the injuries, but history can be a cruel mistress.