Here we go- it’s time to look at the attention Tyler White (Haymarket 2010) has been receiving (from media outlets other than this one- ATVL has already named him its Triple-A hitter of the year). This needs to be posted today, as Tyler will make his major league debut tomorrow!
Tyler has been mentioned in four outlets, with only one neglecting him- Baseball America, again. Fangraphs, mlb.com, John Sickels, and Baseball Prospectus all felt White deserved at least a mention, and in a couple cases, much more than that. Let’s take a look:
First of all, Fangraphs lists Tyler as the #6 prospect in a still-strong Houston Astros system. Their writeup:
All White has done is hit. His 2015 season was no different: he put up a monster year in the regular season before winning the MVP award in the Dominican Winter League. By all accounts, he’s a wretched defender with no base-running value, so it’s a good thing his bat looks like it has impact potential. His size and poor defense, along with his status as a former 33rd-round pick, have kept him away from the big-league batter’s box. This is the year when that changes.
He has an excellent hand path and good use of his lower half at the plate. He gets a little big with his stride and loses the ground with his back foot a tick early, but his hip drive is quick and direct. Though his power is more of the doubles variety, he has an above-average power ceiling with the potential for low double-digit homer totals and a bunch of two-baggers. White has gotten on base at over a .400 clip as a professional, and he has the contact skills to avoid strikeouts against major league pitching, with the power to pressure pitchers into being careful with their location. While it’s foolish to expect the same production in the majors, it’s equally foolish to use his defensive issues to write off his potential as an impact hitter.
I get why a player like White has to perform at such a high level before getting a chance in the big leagues, but his defensive liabilities can only hold down his total value so much. He is absolutely a big-league hitter. Even with his defense leaving him a DH in essence, he has the bat to provide value wherever they decide to play him. For offensive production like his should be, the Astros will find a way to get him into the lineup.
Next up: mlb.com has Tyler at #13 in Houston:
After totaling 44 extra-base hits in his first three years at Western Carolina, White broke out as a senior in 2013 with 43 versus just 26 strikeouts, numbers that caught the eye of Houston’s analytics department. Area scout Tim Bittner liked his hitting ability, so the club invested a 33rd-round pick and a $1,000 bonus in White. He hit .311/.422/.489 in his first three pro seasons, finishing 2015 in Triple-A before winning the Dominican Winter League MVP award and topping the circuit in homers (seven), walks (32), on-base percentage (.421) and slugging (.494).
He’s already 25 and may not have a strong prospect pedigree, but White’s hitting ability is very real. He excels at controlling the strike zone and barreling balls. He has some strength and raw power, but his compact right-handed stroke is more geared for line drives and his ceiling might be 15 homers.
White has played primarily at third base as a pro, but he lacks the athleticism, quickness and arm strength to play there in the big leagues. His main college position was first base, and he could get at-bats there or at DH in Houston this year. He’s an all-bat guy — but it’s a very intriguing bat.
John Sickels has him at #14:
Older prospect with bad body (5-11, 225) but he can really hit and this is not a fluke, exceptional feel for the strike zone with solid average power. Main problem is finding a place to play him. Ron Coomer with more walks.
Baseball Prospectus lists him as “just interesting:”
The Astros took White in the 33rd round of the 2013 draft and gave him $1,000 as a senior sign out of Western Carolina. He’s now one of the best corner infield prospects in the system. Baseball is neat. White’s approach at the plate is outstanding, and even though he doesn’t have the prototypical power you see from a corner infielder, he can drive the ball into the gap and maybe give you 15-homer seasons at his peak. He’s not a good defender and there’s very little athleticism, but you could see him become a quality bench bat who gives lefty hurlers fits.
“Hitting ability is very real.” “All White has done is hit.” “Baseball is neat.” “Absolutely a big league hitter.” Sounds pretty positive to me!