When the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Termarr Johnson no. 4 overall in last year’s draft he immediately became one of the top prospect not just in their farm system, but in all of baseball. The left-handed hitting middle infielder was viewed by many as the best pure hitter in the draft.
Even though he is just 18-years-old, Johnson was invited to MLB spring training this year. Seeing Johnson in Grapefruit League action is something that fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates were looking forward to. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury cost Johnson is entire spring.
Due to this hamstring issue Johnson missed time at the beginning of the minor league season as well. As a result of his hamstring injury Johnson did not make his season debut with the Low-A Bradenton Marauders until April 21st.
His injury undoubtedly played a role in this, but Johnson got off to a slow start with the Marauders. Despite this slow start, Johnson entered play on Thursday with a .265/.405/.353 slash line and a 125 wRC+ in 84 plate appearances. Through his first 84 PAs of the season Johnson had hit a home run, three doubles, walked at a 16.7% clip, and stole a base. Although, his 36.9% strikeout rate is too high.
A big reason Johnson’s numbers are as strong as they are is due to a hot streak at the plate. After struggling to start the season Johnson was given a Sunday off in early May paired with a minor league off dayMonday. He then returned to the Bradenton lineup on May 9th and has done nothing but hit since then.
In his last 51 PAs Johnson has hit for a .333/.451/.452 slash line with a 160 wRC+ and a 13.7% walk rate. While it’s still too high, his strikeout rate during this stretch has dropped to 29.4%. His home run and two of his three doubles have come during this stretch.
Seeing Johnson’s success at Low-A is a very encouraging sign, especially to see him doing it at just 18-years-old. No matter what happens Johnson will likely spend the entire season at Bradenton. However, if he continues to his the ball the way he has he puts himself in position to start next season at High-A Greensboro.
This would be the next step toward Johnson climbing the Pirate farm system quicker than most high school draft picks would. Then again, that’s what you expect from the no. 4 overall pick in the draft who is hyped as potentially the best pure hitter in his draft class.