Termarr Johnson is ready for the next level

July 17th, 2022

The Pirates selected Termarr Johnson with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2022 Draft. Here's a deeper look at Johnson that was first published on MLB.com in the weeks leading up to the Draft.

Thirty swings a day since the age of 3 led to Termarr Johnson being one of the most dangerous hitters in the 2022 Draft class.

Johnson, MLB Pipeline’s No. 4 Draft prospect, hails from Atlanta, and that’s where the work began. The 18-year-old said that he started swinging a 30-inch wood bat for 30 swings a day when he was 3 years old. His father, Terry, introduced the training to help him learn his swing, but the lessons taught Johnson about hard work and the importance of preparation. The teachings led to a ritual that Johnson has stuck to.

"Thirty swings helped me fall in love with my swing," Johnson said. "Those 30 swings turned into 100 swings, and those 100 swings turned into 200 swings. The preparation that [my dad] taught me, everything that he taught me about just getting ready for a game and getting my mind ready for everything that's going on, I feel like that pretty much helped me be who I am now."

He models his swing after Robinson Canó, wanting to be smooth and free while making the game look easy. But he only got that left-handed approach because of his older brother.

Johnson grew up with three older brothers who each molded him into the player he is, in their own way. His oldest brother Tervont, played baseball at Georgia Tech as a graduate student after stops at Eastern Kentucky and Georgia State. Termarr grew up watching Tervont square up on the left side of the plate and "copycatted" him because he thought that was the right way to swing. His other older brothers, Terrenz and Tervell, also played their part in their youngest brother's development. Termarr remembers all of his brothers dialing up their pitches any time he was hitting in their designated interior baseball field in the Johnson house.

"I was getting frustrated, but they told me they weren't going to dumb things down for me," Termarr said. "I felt like that made me a better baseball player because they helped me understand that nobody's really ever dumb anything down for you just because your age or who you are or anything like that — so it kind of gave me a dog mentality."

The imaginary baseball field gave Termarr memories that he cherishes to this day – and that he channels in the midst of his games.

"We had a designated baseball field inside the house that we imagined, and that was my favorite thing growing up. Every time I'm playing, I just think of us playing baseball in the house."

Still, Johnson needed a wake-up call to turn his passion into a full-time job because he wasn't giving the sport his all. He was playing for fun, and his natural abilities made him a top player on any team. That was until a coach told Johnson, "You're too good at this game to not be taking it serious."

After that conversation, Johnson took on a business mindset of making it to the next level.

"Before then, it was kind of like everybody else was pushing me to be better," Johnson said. "I was only going to work out because my brothers were working out, and I was going to do that only because I saw other people doing it. But when that coach told me that, it kind of turned on that switch."

After graduating from Mays High, committing to Arizona State and entering his name into the 2022 Draft, Johnson knew that his academic days were not soon over. He made a promise to his mother, Kim, and his grandparents to get a degree in business management. And Johnson's already thinking about when his baseball career comes to an end and how he can impact the next generation of ballplayers.

"Everybody in my family is on their path to a degree, and I don't want to be the odd man out," Johnson said. "My grandparents, they really don't even care about baseball. They care about class and all that stuff like that, so it's very important to me to make them proud.

"I want to give back to the kids who are not as fortunate, kids who are not as fortunate to be able to play baseball because it's so expensive. I want to give them the chance to excel and develop into everything that they can be and will be."