The Pirates Are Being Smart and Taking it Slow With Lonnie White Jr.

Lonnie White Jr. is currently on the 60-day injured list in the Florida Complex League, dealing with elbow and hamstring issues. Both injured are considered minor, and White could return next month.

The Pirates drafted White with the 64th overall pick last year, and gave him a $1.5 million bonus to sign him away from being a two-sport athlete at Penn State. He made his debut in nine games last year in the FCL, hitting for a .258/.303/.516 line with two homers.

Lonnie White Jr. Shows the Upside That Made Him a Key Part of the Pirates 2021 Draft Class

The former wide receiver has yet to play baseball full-time. The Pirates have been working on easing him into that process, especially with the injuries.

“I think for Lonnie, this is the first year he’s ever run around in baseball spikes for the whole year,” said Pirates farm director John Baker. “Making some adaptations, we’ve got to be smart, and we’ve got to take it slow. We finally gave him his first full time off, and now he’s building back up. But, upon that build up, we should see him playing every day in the complex league.”

White is very raw at the plate, which is to be expected with his lack of baseball-only experience. He’s got 70-grade speed and a lot of raw power potential in his young frame. He’s a guy who needs experience at this stage to take the initial steps to develop his game.

The Pirates will be able to get White some additional at-bats in the offseason, either by sending him to the instructional leagues, or he could even become an option for winter ball. For now, he’s working his way back, and is expected to make his 2022 debut next month, if the recovery continues to go as planned.

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Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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Just glad to see he will probably get on the field this year.


Elbow?……throwing or non-throwing. Assuming his throwing side, yeah that definitely needs rest, don’t want it turning into TJ. He is only 19 so not at all a concern going slow with him imo.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Nooooo!!! I need instant gratification right now. At this moment. He should be playing this very second.

But, since everyone is giving their personal anecdotal stories about “kids these days are soft”, I remember a much different time. I was playing on 2 hockey teams (local HS and a travel team), minimum of 6 out of 7 days a week, and sometimes twice a day. I had knee problems (cartilage problems), and back problems (L4 & L5 were rubbing together) that would also cause nerve problems that would run down my hip/leg. Causing me to go to therapy once a week. There was the time, during a tryout, that I caught a slapshot and it broke the back of my hand. There was the time a puck hit directly off the tip of my middle finger and broke the tip clean off. Literally, it was just floating there in the x-ray (finger still looks goofy). Made it fun for practice/games cause I couldn’t fully grip my stick.

Then the king of them all was the time, during practice at Kent State, a forward was tripped up and went skate first into my wrist. Severed all 3 tendons (they snapped to my elbow, and had to be pulled back and re-stitched back together), niched an artery (a lot of blood. A LOT. We’re talking a stream a foot wide from the goal line to the first blue line as I glided hunched over holding my arm going “OHHHHH FUCKKKKK!!!!!!!”), then it was a hairline away from my main nerve (still don’t have full feeling in my hand).

Probably missing some injuries in there.

Now, you might say to yourself, “Those just sound like freak accidents” or something of that sort. But it’s also to note, even including freak accidents, that even us “tough as nails kids” didn’t exactly get by on a whim just by rubbing dirt on it and dealing with it. Not to mention, as detailed, I still have some lasting results from some of those injuries. The middle finger it took my 2 weeks of me thinking it was just stubbed before I finally said, “This still hurts. I should probably get it looked at”

Last edited 1 year ago by Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

You remind me of my one of my daughters, Played soccer and ran track. Was at a tourney in Virginia Beach Defender was pissed that my daughter beat her yet again and swept her legs. Pretty nifty flip flying somersault spin thing. She gets up pretty much right away and claimed was ok. Finished that game then 2nd game that day and then the final game in the morning before driving back still payed well and claimed a couple of Advil made it all better, Had track meets for school when we got back. Would win her hurdle races but would tighten up for the relay late in the meet. This went on for a good week. Kept telling my wife the nurse that she was fine just bruised up. Went to an away meet and the track coach took her to see an orthopedist who was the trainer for for the other school. He told her she needed seen. Got an appointment for an ortho and got x-rays and found out that she had a fractured pelvic bone. Was already healing. Was pissed that she had to sit out the rest of track and her spring club soccer season. Both her and her sister played through high school. Whoever claims soccer is a sissy sport does not have a clue. Both still have back, knee and ankle issues (my younger daughter also fractured her pelvic bone and wanted seen. Different place where it was fractured. Her pain was in her back and she was fearing she had something wrong with her spine. My other daughter was down a leg so that is why she was assuming bruise cause she hit the ground mostly on her hip. So kids are not always tough, I can attest that they can be mighty stupid too.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I also have injuries from my post-hockey days that have remained with me from things such as adult kickball lol


Sounds like you need to retire from competitive sporting events LOL! I was done after tearing the meniscus in my knee playing in a parent kid soccer game. I have no clue when I tore it because had no idea anything was wrong until I tried to get out of the car when we got home and my knee would not bend lol. I do have have vivid memories of my son throwing several hips and then standing over me while I was down laughing at me  😂  😂  😂 .

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

It’s weird how all the injuries stopped happening after I stopped consistently playing sports lol unfortunately, they randomly pop up while working out at the gym


Stay away from the gym, lol!!!

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I could, if I could stay away from all the tasty treats! And pizza


Football (soccer) is a gentleman’s (gentlewoman’s) sport played by houligans. Not original with me.


LOL! Definitely! From watch girls and boys play through high school, I can attest that girls have much longer memories and will get even, even if it takes till the following season. The boys tended to let it go once the match was over. In high school ball here in western PA, they mostly play with 2 center officials and no linesman. A whole lot of crap goes on when the ball changes ends and the 2nd official moves far enough upfield that he/she is beyond the forwards/defenders still in the other half of the field. Sometimes more entertaining to watch those players than the official action where the ball is. 😂  😂  😂 

Last edited 1 year ago by robertkasperski

Really cool that Tim can get a direct line to John Baker, underrated how valuable this is.

Now if you could please drop subliminal hints for them to draft Kevin Parada & Ivan Melendez, that’d be grrrrreeeeaaaaatttt


12 year olds play 60 games a year now, and these guys can’t get on the field playing outfield.


When I was young and playing baseball and softball, we played all day long. Never considered a limitation of any kind. Just play until you can no longer do it because of exhaustion. I think that was our development. Now it seems professional players are babied. Pitchers are only allowed to throw a certain number of pitches. then rest for a few days. Players get injured and miss months. Maybe players have to much muscle. Perhaps they need more flexibility.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

How’d your professional baseball, or softball, career pan out?


never played professionally but played into my late 40’s and made many long lasting friendships. Had two knee surgeries, rota-tor cuff issues but continued to play and enjoyed it. It was worth it, even if I was not good enough to pursue a professional career.


What comes first for him MLB or Social Security?


I’ll just consider him a 2023 draft pick. 🙂


How do we as a fan base and/or analysts decide when it’s smart or dumb to take it slow with guys.

I feel like most of us just convince ourselves that whatever they’re doing with any individual guy is smart


Context plays a big role, but I think you could back that up pretty heavily with plate discipline metrics for both hitters and pitchers.

Contextually, both Lonnie and Bubba are athletes the organization is attempting to turn into baseball players. There’s an exceptionally short track record of these types ever working out, and a very long timeline on the ones that do.

You could see it in both of their swings, both of which stood out as unrefined even among their complex league brethren.

You also pretty easily see the dudes with poor plate discipline struggle the most with aggressive promotions. Upper level and big league pitchers eat aggressive hitters alive. There’s no sense in pushing a kid only to hit the wall when it matters most.

Last edited 1 year ago by NMR

Hopefully with your writing skill and not my own words!


The only way to decide  😂 

Last edited 1 year ago by robertkasperski

Makes sense to build him up slow as full time baseball uses some muscles that aren’t normally that developed! Once his body is ready for full time baseball, I can see his ceiling being as high as any OF in the system


Plus you need elite reaction time if you are a hitter. Remember the Michael Jordan experiment? Floors matter too.


Did not help MJ that he waited until he was 31 to try to play baseball again. Wonder how he would have done 10 years sooner?

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