The Dodgers took a gamble when they made late-rising Santa Clara pitcher Mitchell White their second round selection in the 2016 draft, but thus far they’ve been rewarded with a fast moving power arm. Injuries, however, have continued to crop up for White, limiting his mound time to just 95 professional innings. Still, White is one of the better strikeout arms in the system and the only question White has left to answer is whether he is better deployed in the rotation or the pen.
While White had limited exposure in college due to Tommy John surgery, it’s easy to see why the Dodgers were attracted to his physical attributes and stuff. White is a lean, tall athlete listed at 6’4 and 207 lbs. and blessed with a quick arm. He has the frame to carry more weight but added bulk isn’t necessary in his case. He fields his position well and held his stuff well but only exceeded 80 pitches once in 2017.
White has a simple high three-quarters delivery, with a long arm action in back that he overcomes with arm speed. He can throw his release point out of whack with a hesitation before bringing the ball home, which can occasionally cause his front to fly open. He’s a rhythm and feel arm that can dominate over long stretches of the game, but when the release point is off, it can take him a while to get back on track.
Arguably the best fastball manipulator in the system, White can sink and cut his fastball. At the high point in his velocity band (around 95 mph), the pitch will have slight armside sink. He commands the pitch well to both sides of the plate, and the pitch plays up because of the batter’s fear of the cutter/slider running away from right handers and in on left handers.
The cutter/slider might be White’s best pitch when on. He throws it at the speed of a cutter and the pitch has less depth than a traditional slider. The pitch helped lead White to a 57% groundball rate in the minors last year. He throws it out of the same slot as his fastball, and the break is tough to pick up out of hand.
White’s curve can at times show slurve-like action, but the depth and velocity difference works against the fastball/cutter combination. He commands the pitch well and at it’s best, it is a steep pitch that batters will swing through. When he loses his slot, he also tends to lose the sharpness of the break on the pitch.
White’s changeup was just a fringe pitch for him. He slows his arm speed down to throw it and the command on the pitch was just average. He has enough variance in the fastball, cutter/slider, and curveball to get away with using it sparingly, or not at all.
The question with White going forward is how to best deploy him. He’s been groomed as a “starter,” though given his frequent innings caps, he has yet to prove the stamina to either work deep in games or pitch 180+ innings in a season. In the Dodger rotation of “two times through,” He could probably get by throwing 140 or so innings a season. However, given the prominence of his stuff and ability to get strikeouts, I almost prefer him as a multiple inning reliever.
While his ceiling may not be that of Andrew Miller with Cleveland, he has better overall stuff than Houston stretch man Chris Devenski, and was almost worth one and a half wins over 80 innings of relief.
White over 30-50 inning stints could rely exclusively on the fastball, cutter, curve combination and touch the higher reaches of his velocity band more frequently. I could eventually see White filling the role of elite set-up man or even closer on a future team, but he could be valuable to the 2018 Dodgers in middle relief if he follows the same development path.
For the time being, I expect Los Angeles to continue to trot White out every fifth day in the minors and might even try to see him push his pitch limits health willing. He’s been good at every level and despite limited innings, shows few weaknesses or room for improvement. He could use more time in AA, but starting in AAA is not out of the question for White. The role he reaches the majors in will likely depend on the needs of the big league club, but I expect that debut to come some time this season.
2018 top Dodgers prospects
|10||Mitchell White||RHSP/RP||23.03||AA||55||45||60||high K potential, chance for + SL and CT, FB Velo||injury history, command wavers, poss. reliever|
|11||Yusniel Diaz||CF/RF||21.06||AA||55||50||55||improved swing for pop potential, arm, defensive pot.||in game power lagging, tweener profile|
|12||Cristian Santana||3B||21.01||LoA||55||40||65||excellent build, loose athlete, chance for + power||long swing, chance for swing and miss, raw|
|13||Edwin Rios||3B/1B||23.11||AAA||55||45||60||big raw power, strong, productive hitter, arm strength||avg bat speed, fringy at 3rd, mistake hitter|
|14||Starling Heredia||LF/RF||19.02||LoA||55||35||70||man-child physique, huge raw power, upside||still raw at the plate, serious swing and miss|
|15||Morgan Cooper||RHSP||23.06||NA||55||50||55||good frame, + BB with BB manipulation, production||injury history, longer arm action, ceiling more #3|
|16||Gavin Lux||SS||20.04||LoA||55||50||55||should stick at SS, athletic, plate discipline at age||overall offensive ceiling, some hit struggles early|
|17||Jordan Sheffield||RHSP/RP||22.10||HiA||55||45||60||electric arm, + present fastball and CV, athletic||production doesn't match stuff, likely reliever|
|18||Imani Abdullah||RHSP||20.11||LoA||55||45||60||excellent frame, upside, feel for spin on CB||17 a redshirt year, limited exposure, little stiff|
|19||Kyle Farmer||C/3B||27.07||MLB||50||50||45||good feel for hit, offensive profile at C, utility||more productive bench bat then starter, age|
|20||Caleb Ferguson||LHSP||21.09||HiA||50||45||50||K production, 3 pitch mix, command, feel for spin||upside more mid rotation, maxed out frame|
|21||Connor Wong||C/2B||21.10||LoA||50||45||50||versatile talent, good athlete for a C, solid power prod||some swing and miss, build not projectable|
|22||Josh Sborz||RHSP/RP||24.03||AA||50||45||50||high floor, command of three pitches, competitive||stuff has backed up this season, likely reliever|
|23||James Marinan||RHSP||19.06||ROK||50||40||55||projectable frame, flashes + SNK, chance for +CH||slurvy BB, more middle than upper rotation upside|
|24||Devin Smeltzer||LHSP||22.08||HiA||50||45||50||high pitchability, 3 pitch mix, throws nothing straight||fringe avg velo, 4th or 5th starter ceiling|
|25||Matt Beaty||1B/LF||24.11||AA||50||45||50||excellent feel for hit, career production, game pop||limited ceiling, future defensive home|
|26||Andrew Sopko||RHSP||23.08||AA||50||50||45||3 pitch mix, pitchability, command, deceptive||velo can be fringy, bottom rotation upside|
|27||Ariel Sandoval||CF/RF||22.05||HiA||50||35||60||livey athlete, raw power, arm, 2nd half production||too raw at plate, noisey set-up, high swing and miss|
|28||Tim Locastro||SS/2B/CF||25.09||AAA||50||45||45||good bat to ball skills, high steal rate, versatile||fringe pop, stretched at SS and CF, upside|
|29||JT Chargois||RHRP||27.04||AAA||50||40||55||heavy life on SNK, GB ability, arm strength||limited track record, long injury history, age|
|30||Jake Peter||2B/SS||24.11||AAA||50||45||45||fluid LH swing, arm strength, versatile||utility/bench upside, ? on overall pop|
|31||Yaisel Sierra||RHRP||27.01||AAA||50||40||50||good velo, SL will flash +, quick arm||command, incon. release, FB can be straight|
|32||Wilmer Font||RHSP/RP||27.10||MLB||50||40||50||excellent K production, rise on FB, + SL||age, previous command issues, upside|
|33||Ibandel Isabel||1B||22.09||HiA||50||30||60||++ raw power, physical build, strength||huge swing and miss, poor defender, raw|
|34||Mitchell Hansen||CF/RF||21.11||SS||45||40||55||chance for 5 tools, upside, projectable frame||struggling to break full season, swing and miss|
|35||Errol Robinson||SS||23.06||AA||45||45||50||smooth infield actions, throwing arm, solid athlete||better long speed than SB threat, off. ceiling|
|36||Johan Mieses||RF/CF||22.09||AA||45||40||55||impressive arm, defensive ceiling, raw power||serious swing and miss concerns|
|37||Omar Estevez||2B/SS||20.01||HiA||45||40||55||added defensive versatility, some feel for hit||production stagnated at Hi A, power potential|
|38||Donovan Casey||CF/RF||22.01||SS||45||45||50||twitchy athlete, production, solid bat to ball skills||ceiling more 4th OF than starter, power ceiling|
|39||Edward Paredes||LHRP||31.06||MLB||45||45||45||K production, tough on LHH, + SL||age, one pitch reliever, LOOGY upside|
|40||Rob Segedin||3B/LF||29.05||MLB||45||45||45||hit vs lefties, gets most of tools, avg pop||bench bat upside, limited defender, upside|
|41||Drew Jackson||SS/2B||24.09||AA||45||40||50||elite athlete, + to ++ speed and arm strength||offense improving but limited ceiling, utility upside|
|42||Wills Montgomerie||RHSP/RP||22.10||LoA||45||40||50||spin rate, durable build, flashes + velo and CV||uneven production, command wavers|
|43||Cody Thomas||RF||23.06||LoA||45||35||55||great build, good athlete, chance for above avg pop||still raw, swing and miss concerns|
|44||Jesen Therrien||RHRP||25.00||AAA||45||45||45||SL flashes +, good command and K production||TJ wipes out '18. middle relief/ROOGY upside|
|45||Carlos Rincon||RF||20.06||SS||45||35||55||big raw power, physical upside, bat speed||pretty raw offensively, serious swing and miss|
|46||Kyle Garlick||CF/RF/LF||26.02||AA||45||45||45||productive, feel for hitting, avg pop||4th outfielder profile, age, fringe speed|
|47||Luke Raley||LF/RF||23.06||HiA||45||40||50||muscular build, chance for above avg pop||just avg bat speed, possible swing and miss|
|48||Luis Paz||1B/C||21.09||SS||45||40||50||power production, bat speed, strong build||? on ultimate defensive home, avg athlete|
|49||Riley Ottesen||RHRP||23.05||LoA||45||40||50||good velo, will flash + SL, arm speed||poor college production, likely reliever only|
|50||Rylan Bannon||3B||21.11||SS||45||45||45||college/pro production, good feel for hit, game pop||skills over tools, ceiling, possible utility upside|
|51||Leo Crawford||LHSP||21.01||LoA||45||40||50||solid production, command of 3 pitch mix||fringe velo, not as projectable, likely back end|
|52||Zach Reks||LF/RF||24.05||HiA||45||45||45||feel for hit, on base skills, productive||- power, age, 4th OF profile|
|53||Romer Cuadrado||LF/RF||20.08||SS||45||35||55||excellent frame, chance for + raw power||development lagging behind age, swing and miss|
|54||Ryan Moseley||RHRP||23.06||LoA||45||40||50||chance for ++ snk, big groundball potential||struggles with command, results don't match stuff|
|55||Jared Walker||3B/RF||22.02||LoA||45||40||50||+ size/athleticism combo, chance for hit/power, + arm||raw, buggy whip swing, error prone in IF|
|56||Zach Pop||RHRP||21.06||NA||45||40||50||good life/velo combo on FB, solid build, poss. CH||mid relief profile, SL loses shape in low slot|
|57||Corey Copping||RHRP||24.03||AA||45||45||45||good SL, bulldog mentality, decent production||FB velo avg to fringe, middle relief ceiling|
|58||Shea Spitzbarth||RHRP||23.06||AA||45||45||45||agressive mound demeanor, arm strength, CV||middle relief upside, maxed out frame, size|
|59||Layne Somsen||RHRP||28.10||AA||45||45||45||tough overhead BB, production, athletic||limited mid relief ceiling, age, avg FB velo|
|60||Tony Gonsolin||RHRP||23.11||HiA||45||40||50||arm speed, flashes + SL, solid K production||lithe build, not quite late relief upside|
|61||Alfredo Tavarez||RHSP/RP||20.04||LoA||45||35||50||king sized frame, arm strength, K production||still raw mechanically, repeating arm slot, command|
|62||Aneurys Zabala||RHRP||21.03||LoA||45||40||50||will flash ++ arm strength, some feel for spin||relief profile, command, limited physical upside|
|63||Michael Boyle||LHSP||23.11||HiA||45||40||45||pitch movement, pitchability, 3 pitches||no plus pitch, fringy velo, #5 starter/swingman|
|64||Jefrey Souffront||2B/3B||20.11||ROK||45||35||50||some feel for hit, quick bat, mature plate approach||distance from the majors, build not projectable|
|65||Jacob Amaya||SS/2B||19.02||ROK||45||35||50||chance to stick at SS, good athlete, some feel for hit||distance from majors, offensive ceiling|
|66||Ronny Brito||SS||19.00||SS||45||35||50||infield actions, long athlete, chance to hit||? on overall offensive potential, far from majors|
|67||Logan Crouse||RHRP||21.04||LoA||45||35||50||size, projectability, athleticism in delivery, arm action||Fringy present velo, lots of projection left|
|68||Chris Mathewson||RHSP/RP||21.10||HiA||45||40||45||SNK/SL mix, solid production, command||back of rotation, middle relief upside, fringe velo|
|69||Adam Bray||RHSP||24.11||HiA||45||40||45||durability, feel for spin, good command||fringe starter upside, upside, avg K potential|
|70||Brian Moran||LHRP||29.06||AA||40||40||45||funk in delivery, tough in LHH, K potential||limited ceiling, fringe velo, age|
|71||Nolan Long||RHRP||24.02||HiA||40||40||45||long frame, athletic for size, FB flashes +||long levers to control, command, likely reliever|
|72||Mike Ahmed||1B/3B||26.02||AA||40||40||45||productive in '16, swing plane, avg pop||bat speed, age, limited upside|
|73||Nathan Witt||RHRP||21.11||ROK||40||35||50||good build, projectable, arm strength||project arm, distance from majors, relief upside|
|74||Travis Taijeron||LF/RF||29.02||AAA||40||40||45||good career power production, physical build||age, defensive upside, swing and miss concern|
|75||Jacob Scavuzzo||LF||24.02||AAA||40||40||45||solid tool profile, still a chance for upside||game going backward, struggling hit tool|
|76||Max Gamboa||RHRP||22.04||ROK||40||35||50||excellent arm strength, + to ++ velo, good frame||production does not match stuff, incon. SL|
|77||Dean Kremer||RHRP||22.03||HiA||40||40||45||decent athleticism and frame, K production, sink on FB||was hit hard in HiA. Homer prone, no + pitch|
|78||Moises Perez||2B||20.08||LoA||40||40||45||loose athlete, some feel for hit||offensive ceiling, lower on defensive spectrum|
|79||Isaac Anderson||RHSP/RP||24.07||HiA||40||40||45||versatile arm, some SNK on FB, avg SL||no plus or above avg tool, low ceiling, taxi arm|