The Pittsburgh Pirates selected a drafted middle player considered the best net-batting player in decades, taking Termarr Johnson of Atlanta (Ga.) Mays High School with the No. 4 overall pick for the MLB Draft Sunday night in Los Angeles.
“I feel like I’m on the top of the moon,” Johnson told reporters on a video conference call. “I am happy to be in this position and happy that the Pirates chose me. I bring in a dynamic player. I brought a baseball rat to the Pirates organization. I think the Pirates got one of the best players in the draft, if not the best player in the draft.
“I know I’m going to work hard to make sure I’m the best draft player, because at the end of the day, that’s my goal: to be the best draft player and the most successful player out of the draft, not just to be drafted.”
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Johnson played a short one in high school but is expected to play second base. As a junior in 2021, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound left-footed hitter hit .417 with eight pairs, five triples, nine home runs, 23 base hits and was ranked by Baseball America as the number 1 high school draft prospect in the country. .
“We are pleased to have selected Termarr with overall selection number 4,” Pirates general manager Ben Chirington said in a statement. “We have stuck to our board and have chosen who we believe is the best talent available. Termarr has the potential to be a mid-ranking impact racket in an excellent position. He has excellent athletic performance and equally good playing skills, which gives him the ability to join other players To make a huge daily impact on the winning pirate teams in the future.”
Project Baseball America writer Carlos Collazo gave Johnson a double score as well as hitting scores and called him “the purest best hitter in this recruiting class.”
“He does everything you want an elite batsman to do: He has bat speed. He has pitch recognition. He has bat skills with the ball. He can run the ball and hit it with 60-degree power,” Collazo said at MLB Network. “It doesn’t really matter where he plays defense. He’s going to be an impressive bat, and he’s definitely the best high school hitter I’ve ever seen.”
MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds described Johnson as a “shining light” for MLB, given that he developed through his RBI program, incorporating invitations and draft, and Johnson told him, “I’m not here without Major League Baseball investing in me.”
It’s an attraction, a gateway attraction,” Reynolds said. “Left bat with energy. He’s one of the best high school hitters I’ve seen in many years. I’m talking about Griffey and A-Rod, the best high school hitters coming out. You can compare him to that. They drafted him as a short. His hands are there, but I quickly see him to major leagues as a second captain.
The first three picks were heritage prospects whose parents played professional sports, and it was the first time in MLB Draft history that the first two picks were the sons of former Major League players.
Number one overall, the Baltimore Orioles chose Stillwater (UCLA) High School’s Jackson Holiday High School, son of seven-time All-Star Matt Holiday and grandson of Union Town native Tom Holiday. The only other son of a former major league to be selected with the top pick is Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr.
In second place, the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired Norcross High School Wesleyan quarterback Drew Jones, the son of former Atlanta Braves quarterback and 10-time Gold Glove and five-star Andrew Jones.
The Texas Rangers used the No. 3 option on right-hander Kumar Rucker, the former Vanderbilt pitcher who was ranked 10th overall by the New York Mets last year but did not sign. Rucker, who this season played for the Tri-City Valley Cats indie team, is the son of former Philadelphia Eagles defensive line coach Tracy Rucker.
The Buccaneers did not hesitate to choose Johnson, who described himself as a “baseball rat” who said he plans to go to the batting cage once he returns from enlistment. However, Johnson did not want to call himself the best draft hitter.
“I like to say I’m the smartest hitter,” Johnson said. “I know everything I want to do in the box, whether it’s different for each racket but I kind of have a knack for what I want to do in each pat. I know how to adapt.”
The value of the slot for choosing No. 4 is $7,002,100. The Pirates have the fourth largest bounty pool in the draft with $13,733,900. They also have the 36th overall pick in the Competitive Balance Round A (slot value: $2,149,200) and the 44th pick (slot value: $1,775,200) in the second round.
The second day of the draft begins at 2 p.m. on Monday.