One of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ prize picks in the 2021 amateur draft apparently won’t be suiting up any time soon.
Outfielder Lonnie White Jr., a standout two-sport athlete who spurned an offer to play wide receiver at Penn State after the Pirates selected him with the overall 64th pick in last summer’s draft, had been assigned to Bradenton of the Class A Florida State League but never saw game action this season before being placed on the seven-day injured list in mid-May.
But according to milb.com, the Marauders transferred White from the seven-day injured list to the 60-day injured list on May 31.
Alex Stumpf of DK Pittsburgh Sports tweeted on May 18 that White had a UCL (elbow) injury, while Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette characterized the issue as “mild elbow soreness” in a report published the same day.
Outfielder Lonnie White Jr. is on the IL with what is being listed as a UCL injury, per source. Him being transferred to the Marauders was a paper move.— Alex Stumpf (@AlexJStumpf) May 18, 2022
Traveling media will be speaking with director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk this afternoon. Will ask about the severity.
The 6’3”, 212-pound White, who won’t turn 20 until New Year’s Eve, played his high school ball at Malvern Prep, near Philadelphia. He saw action in the Florida Complex League last year after signing for a reported $1.5 million, hitting .258 with two home runs and five RBIs in 31 at bats.
He’s ranked as the Pirates’ 15th-best prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.
While White is sidelined, a couple of other highly regarded prospects taken in last year’s draft can be found on the roster of the Pirates’ lone entry in the Complex League. Play got under way Monday in the rookie-level loop, and the Pirates won their first two games.
Henry Davis, the Pirates’ top selection in last year’s draft, started behind the plate Tuesday and went 0-for-3 as he’s rehabbing from a fractured wrist. Davis, the organization’s No. 2-ranked prospect, was placed on the injured list after being promoted to Double-A Altoona, and it’s just a matter of time before he works his way back to that level.
Also on the FCL Pirates’ roster is Bubba Chandler, the No. 9 prospect who is listed as a designated hitter but was signed as a pitcher/infielder. The 19-year-old Chandler, the 72nd pick overall in last year’s draft, reportedly received a $3 million bonus to give up his commitment to play football at Clemson. That bonus was $2 million more than his draft slot warranted.
Chandler did not appear in either of the Pirates’ first two FCL games.
Outfielder Braylon Bishop, another highly regarded prospect that signed with Pittsburgh after committing to Arkansas, made his 2022 debut for the FCL club Tuesday and singled in his lone at-bat.
Now for a look at the Top 16 prospects currently playing at either Triple-A Indianapolis or Altoona in the Double-A Eastern League. The numbers do not reflect Tuesday’s results.
Nick Gonzales, the club’s top prospect according to MLB Pipeline, picked things up during the month of May and into the first week of June at Altoona. The 23-year-old second baseman is hitting .293 with an .816 OPS over his last 30 days, which covers 90 plate appearances.
Gonzales is still doing his share of swinging and missing, though; he has a 30 percent strikeout rate and a 12.2 percent walk rate during that stretch compared to 33 percent and 13 percent overall in 186 plate appearances. On the season, Gonzales is hitting .247/.743 with four homers and 15 RBIs.
No. 3 Oneil Cruz has been even more impressive than Gonzales during the last 30 days, as he’s put up a .924 OPS in 104 plate appearances at Indy. Cruz has seven home runs and 18 RBIs during that time span, lifting his overall marks to .223 and .744 in 204 plate appearances.
No. 5 Liover Peguero has seen his numbers fall a bit after a cool 30-day stretch during which he batted .255 with a .678 OPS. Overall, the young shortstop is at .293/.796 with four home runs and 30 RBIs in 201 plate appearances at Altoona. Defensively, Peguero has committed 11 errors in 38 games at shortstop and three more in three games at second base.
No. 10 Matt Fraizer, like Gonzales and Cruz, has seen his numbers improve recently, as he’s batting .256 with a .772 OPS in his last 94 plate appearances at Altoona. Overall, though, Frazier is hitting just .210/.616 with a .263 on-base percentage.
No. 16 Ji-hwan Bae has been putting up solid numbers all year at Indianapolis and over his last 30 days he’s been particularly hot, as he’s batting .304 with an .894 OPS. In 109 at-bats during that time the 22-year-old Bae has homered twice and driven in 17 runs while striking out just 17 percent of the time and walking 14 percent.
Ji-Hwan Bae with a base hit up the middle to give Indianapolis the lead pic.twitter.com/wvXh1NLIGI— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) June 7, 2022
Overall this season Bae is at .287/.833 with five home runs and 25 RBIs, a 19 percent strikeout rate and a 12 percent walk rate. Defensively, Bae has primarily been playing second base but has seen time at short, third and both corner outfield spots.
On the pitching side, No. 11 Mike Burrows had a rough outing his last time out for Altoona, as he gave up seven hits, four walks and three earned runs in three innings of work June 1. Burrows’ overall numbers are still impressive, though, as he is 3-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 10 starts. In 45 2/3 innings, the 22-year-old right-hander has given up 12 runs, 32 hits and 16 walks while striking out 57.
Burrows’ Altoona teammate, No. 14 Carmen Mlodzinski, had a nice bounce back in his most recent outing. Making his first relief appearance after nine starts, the 23-year-old right-hander allowed three hits and one run while striking out five in four innings of work Sunday against Bowie. He did not walk a batter.