Canaan Elijah Smith-Njigba (“CAY-nin N-JIG-buh”) Is a 2017 graduate of Rockwall-Heath High School in Heath, TX...Received 57 walks in 43 games as a senior, the ninth-highest total in U.S. prep history at the time...Began high school career as a catcher...Also played quarterback on the football team...Was committed to playing baseball at the University of Arkansas prior to signing with the Yankees...His father, Maada, played college football at Stephen F. Austin...His younger brother, Jaxon, was the 2019 Texas 6A State Player-of-the-Year in football and just completed his junior season as a wide receiver for Ohio State...He caught 15 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns in the Rose Bowl on 1/1/21; the most receiving yards by anyone in bowl history.
Began the season with Indianapolis and was the Opening Day starter in left field...Had a walk-off single on 4/23 vs. Columbus...Hit safely in seven straight games from 4/27 through 5/4, going 7-for-22 with seven walks and a 1.074 OPS...Reached base safely in 28 straight games from 4/22 through 5/26; his streak ended after he went 0-for-1 in pinch-hitting appearance on 5/27...Hit safely in his next seven games from 5/28 through 6/7...Reached base safely in 40 of his 41 Minor League games from 4/22 through 6/12, going 43-for-145 (.297) with 12 doubles, three triples, one home run, 16 RBI, 30 walks and a .417 on-base percentage...Was recalled by the Pirates on 6/13...Made Major League debut as a pinch hitter on 6/14 at St. Louis (game one) and doubled off Giovanny Gallegos; the first Bucco to record an extra base hit in his first Major League plate appearance since Tony Sanchez doubled in his Major League debut on 6/23/13 at Los Angeles (AL)...Made his first Major League start in left field on 6/14 (game two) and went 0-for-2 with a hit by pitch...Suffered a non-displaced fracture of the scaphoid bone in his right wrist on 6/15 at St. Louis and was placed on the 60-day injured list on 6/17.
Batted .258 (62-for-240) with 11 doubles, six home runs and 42 RBI in 73 minor league games between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis...Swiped 13 bases in 14 attempts; was caught stealing for the only time on 7/20 at Somerset... Spent majority of season with Altoona, where he finished with the highest OBP (.398) among all players (minimum: 250 plate appearances)...Made 60 appearances in left field and one in right field (5/19 at Harrisburg) while playing with Altoona... Produced a .310 (13-for-42) average11 RBI and a .982 OPS in his first 14 games thru 5/22...Went hitless in his next eight games (23 at bats), dropping season average to .200 on 6/2...Hit .301 (25-for-83) in June and .333 (21-for-63) in July...Was promoted to Indianapolis and made his Triple-A debut on 9/23 at Omaha...Made all five defensive appearances (four starts) in left field while playing with Indy... Participated in the Arizona Fall League and hit .298 (17-for-57) with six doubles, a homer, two RBI, five stolen bases and a .452 on-base percentage in 18 games with Peoria.
Did not play a regular season game due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Was named to the South Atlantic League mid- and post-season All-Star teams while playing with Charleston (SC) in 2019...Was also tabbed as a 2019 Baseball America low Class-A All-Star and a Yankees’ MiLB organizational All-Star...Led the SAL in walks in 2019, ranked second in OBP and tied for second in hits...Also ranked third in total bases (209), third in average, third in OPS and sixth in RBI in 2019...Hit for the cycle on 5/12/19, capping off a 4-for-5 day with a solo homer in the eighth inning; the first cycle by a Charleston player since Matt Quatraro on July 6, 1997...Had first career two-homer game on 6/13/19 vs. Greenville...Participated in the 2019 South Atlantic League Home Run derby...Swiped two bases for the first time in his career on 8/30/19...Was recognized by Baseball America as the South Atlantic League’s “Best Batting Prospect” and “Most Exciting Player” for his efforts with Charleston in 2019.