Pirates' Termarr Johnson Gets A Handle On Different Pitch Types
The Pirates landed one of the best pure hitters in the 2022 draft when they selected Atlanta high school shortstop Termarr Johnson with the fourth overall pick.
His potential for a 70-grade hit tool and average power made the Pirates ignore his 5-foot-7 frame. Johnson's challenge in pro ball will be facing more consistent velocity and more difficult breaking pitches.
The 19-year-old lefthanded hitter was showing early in his pro career that he can hit any velocity.
Accord to Pirates farm director John Baker, the adjustment right now for Johnson is getting accustomed to those different pitch shapes.
“(He’s) starting to build that hitter's library of what things look like and when to put a little extra effort into the swing, when to back off a little bit—all those kind of just professional baseball things," Baker said.
Prior to the season beginning, Johnson broke down some of the early things he has learned on how to make those adjustments inside the batter’s box.
“Definitely just realizing what type of pitcher you're facing every day,” Johnson said. “Some guys may be fastball guys, some guys may be offspeed guys. You recognize that, you pick up what you need to do and figure out what you need to work on in order to smash that guy.”
After missing most of the first month of the season with a hamstring injury, Johnson was assigned to Low-A Bradenton, where he spent 14 games in 2022.
After a brief adjustment, he started to “smash” more pitchers in the month of May, hitting .263/.409/.368 through 17 games, with his first homer of the year. He had struck out 32 times in 22 games on the season, showing he was still gaining experience with breaking stuff.
Johnson plays primarily second base, but the Pirates were getting him some time at shortstop to see the game from both sides of the bag.
— Drafted No. 1 overall in 2021, Henry Davis hit .299/.457/.615 with 10 home runs through 33 games for Double-A Altoona this year. The power-hitting catcher was also seeing time in right field, with five starts there in the span of 12 games in May.
— Triple-A Indianapolis righthander Quinn Priester might be pitching in Pittsburgh by the end of the summer. The 2019 first-rounder had a 1.13 ERA with 19 strikeouts and five walks through 24 innings in the month of May. Priester’s best start came on May 16 against Iowa, when he allowed one run in seven innings, walking one and striking out nine.