School: University of Kentucky; Class: Junior
Position: 1B/OF; B/T: R/L
Height: 6-3; Weight: 205
Previously Drafted: N/A
Background: A three-year offensive standout out for the University of Kentucky, White, a native of Columbus, Ohio, is poised to become the school’s earliest draft pick since the Astros grabbed slugging first baseman A.J. Reed with the first pick in the second round of the 2014 draft. White, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound, lefty-swinging first baseman/outfielder, has continued to improve his offensive production throughout his tenure.
As a true freshman, White batted a respectable .318/.369/.418 – though he managed to slug just 15 extra-base hits (12 doubles, one triple, and a pair of dingers). His Isolated Power sat at a paltry .092. The following season, his offensive production exploded: he posted an impressive .376/.419/.535 with career bests in doubles (15), triples (3), homeruns (5), Isolated Power (.159), and stolen bases (10). This season, White’s game has taken another step forward. Through his first 43 games with the Wild Cats, he’s batting a robust .385/.460/.661 with 22 doubles, one triple, eight homeruns, and four stolen bases (in six attempts).
For his career, White’s sporting an .358/.414/.527 with 49 doubles, five triples, 15 homeruns, and 17 stolen bases (in 23 attempts) in 149 total games.
Projection: The immediate comparison will be to former Kentucky bopper A.J. Reed, so let’s take a look:
Obviously, White isn’t the prolific slugger that Reed was during his collegiate days, there’s a massive gap in terms of power and patience. So, then, what exactly is White in terms of big league prospect?
Well, let’s talk about what he isn’t first. White has never taken a particular keen interest in grabbing first base via the walk. As stated above, he’s only walked in roughly 6.8% of his career plate appearances. And his walk rate this season, 8.91%, is still slightly below-average for a top collegiate slugger. White also hasn’t shown a tremendous amount of power in terms of the long ball at any point in his collegiate career: he slugged just 15 total homeruns, eight of which happened in 2017. Both the lack of patience and power are pretty damning for a polished slugger at a run-producing position.
So, then, what does he do well?
- Makes hard contact. He batted .376 and .385 over the previous two seasons.
- He makes consistent contact. He’s fanned in just under 14% of his plate appearances this season.
- He’s sneaky fast, having swiped 17 bags in 23 total attempts – or a 73.9% success rate.
- His power – while lacking the prototypical long ball potential – has improved in each of his last two seasons, going from .092 ISO to .159 ISO to .276 ISO.
White looks like a line-drive slashing first baseman in the professional ranks. And, luckily for him, one that could hear his name called in the late first round thanks to a weak collegiate hitting class.
Ceiling: 2.0-win player
Floor: 1.0-win player
Risk: Low to Moderate
Grade: First/Second Round