FCL Pirates Update: Lonnie White Jr. Hits First Pro Home Run, 2021 Draft Class Update
|Photo Credit: Jose F. Moreno/Staff Photographer, Philadelphia Inquirer|
With the cutback on minor league teams, the now renamed Florida Complex League is the starting point for most players beginning their professional journeys.
Most teams play out of their team's spring training sites, giving them more hands on time before they venture out to affiliated ball on their path to the majors.
It's especially great for the players who have been recently drafted, giving them an opportunity to get their feet wet in professional baseball and getting the feel of what day-to-day life is like before heading out to the organizations other minor league affiliates.
That's certainly been the case for the 2021 draft picks this year, as most have at least made a pit stop with either the FCL Black or Gold teams before heading elsewhere. First overall pick Henry Davis spent some time in the FCL before heading to Greensboro to play with the Grasshoppers.
This is a great opportunity for the prep players to really start to get use to the grind of the professional baseball season, all while under a controlled environment. While most of the pitchers have been held out from gameplay, a lot of the position players are currently active in the FCL.
Here's a breakdown of some of the notable names and how they are performing currently in the FCL.
Lonnie White Jr. - Competitive Balance B 64th overall
With all the physical tools to be a star at the next level, White could have been drafted a lot higher than he actually was but was committed to Penn State to play wide receiver so he slid in the draft. The Pirates were able to use the draft system in their favor and load up on high upside players by saving with the first pick.
White didn't waste much time making an impact on the diamond, hitting two doubles in the professional debut. Saturday he hit his first home run as a pro in a game that was a continuation from Friday. So far in his brief time in the FCL, White is 4 for 16 with three of those hits going for extra base hits. He has struck out seven times but is already showing that power potential from the get go.
Bubba Chandler - 3rd Round
A top 30 prospect on MLB Pipeline, Chandler was also signed on to play quarterback at Clemson but was swayed to sign with the Pirates with one of the most lucrative bonuses in draft history for a player not taken in the first round.
.227/.346/.409 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2B, 4:8 K:BB
Chandler was drafted as both a pitcher and position player, and while most believe his future is on the mound the Pirates have him in the field to start his career. The Georgia native has five hits in his first 22 at bats which has included a home run.
Braylon Bishop - 14th Round
When the Pirates decided to take Bishop in the 14th round, it seemed like he was going to be a contingency plan if they were unable to come to an agreement with one of the top draft picks. As the signing process unfolded it became more of a realization that they had a legitimate shot at signing yet another top ranked prospect.
Bishop currently is in the midst of a five game on base streak and is currently 4 for 18 in the FCL. He has scored three runs as well as three stolen bases.
Mike Jarvis - 6th Round
The Pirates took a pair of players out of San Diego State with back to back picks with Jarvis being the first of the two. Both Jarvis and his former teammate, Wyatt Hendrie, has seen the most playing time among 2021 draft picks in the FCL.
Jarvis has 12 hits in his 34 at bats, has scored 14 runs and stolen eight bases in his time in the FCL. Not known much as a power hitter at San Diego State, Jarvis has six extra base hits including a home run. The shortstop has two separate hitting streaks going on right now, both impressive.
He has hits in six straight games, but has also recorded multiple hits in his past three.
Brenden Dixon - 20th Round
Dixon was the last draft pick by the Pirates in 2021 and has hit two home runs and driven in six runs while going 8 of 24 with a slugging percentage of .667%.
The product of Weatherford JC has shown great patience at the plate, walking eight times in his 33 plate appearances.
When talking about the 2021 MLB Draft, the Pirates were heralded for their approach and ability to sign everyone they were able to. The hype they got about their draft was even before any of them stepped onto the field.
For the success they've had on the field already, we haven't even seen Anthony Solometo or Owen Kellington on the diamond yet. Sean Sullivan may be another name to watch going into next year.
In the meantime, we've already gotten a brief look at what some of these players are going to be able to offer going forward, and it's hard not to get excited about what the future may bring.
Of the 2021 draft class playing in the FCL, who has impressed you the most? Let us know in the comment section below, subscribe to the site with the link at the top of the page and follow us on Twitter @__Murphy88 and @SportBlogMurphy.