I had the pleasure of seeing Dodgers’ prospect Mitchell White make his 2017 season debut in Stockton. He looked the part of a future MLB pitcher — either in the rotation or bullpen.
I ranked him at No. 14 in my Top 100. Suffice it to say, he’d rank a lot higher if I revised my rankings. Keith Law recently put him in his revised Top 50 (overall) prospects, so the hype train is rollin’ and will be full-up sooner rather than later.
Editor’s note: I am not a scout (#notascout). I am an amateur when it comes to evaluating players and do not do this for a living. I don’t claim to be a pro, I just want to pass along the information I see to the people. All ratings in the charts below are on the standard 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is roughly average, 80 is elite and nearly unattainable (think Giancarlo Stanton‘s power), and 20 is unacceptably poor. Enjoy.
Mitchell White scouting report
|DOB: 12/28/94||Age: 22||Ht: 6’4||Wt: 207||Bats: Right||Throws: Right||Position: SP/RP|
|Type of pitcher: Power, wipeout curveball, nasty cut fastball, could be No. 2/3 starter or late-inning reliever|
Date seen: April 7, 2017 at Stockton Ports (Banner Island Ballpark)
Weather: Cool, rained day before and during day of outing, didn’t seem bothered by it
How acquired: Second round of 2016 MLB Draft (No. 65 overall), $993,800 signing bonus
Physical description: Broad shoulders, perfect pitcher’s physique, athletic, quick arm
Strengths: Improved velocity since last season, hammer curve with extreme vertical movement, high-velo cutter, three swing-and-miss pitches, projected plus command
Weaknesses: Had Tommy John in college, changeup is far behind other pitches, lack of innings as pro
Key statistics: 31 IP in pro career, zero earned runs (one run overall), 10 walks, 41 strikeouts
Summary: If the draft were held again, White certainly wouldn’t have made it to the second round. He might not have made it out of the top half of the first round. He has done nothing but impress since he was selected, and he is on the fast track to the majors.
His 2017 season debut came with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes against the Stockton Ports (A’s affiliate) at Banner Island Ballpark. He threw four innings and made 61 pitches. Most of the top Dodger pitching prospects are on 60-65 pitch limits early in the season, so the brevity of the outing wasn’t surprising.
White came out in the first inning and got two strikeouts and a ground out. He featured a fastball that sat at 96 MPH and touched 97 — his high for the evening. He also showed a double-plus 12-6 curveball in the low-80s. It induced plenty of swinging strikes and is his best secondary offering. That’s saying something because his cut fastball has been lauded since he was drafted. He threw it in the 90-94 MPH, leaning more toward the 90-92 range. But his curveball showed better in this game.
In the fourth inning, he got a little out of whack with his mechanics. It led to him issuing two walks to the first two hitters he faced. His mechanics got away from him a bit, but he recovered to induce a double play ball. There was another walk before he ended the inning with his fifth strikeout of the night. And the mechanics are clean and repeatable, but he was rushing a bit in the fourth. Despite that, he worked around the trouble to escape the outing hitless and with a shutout intact.
Fun note: Alex Hermeling pitched the final three innings of the game to complete the 7-inning no-hitter. The season-opener the night before was postponed due to rain, hence the pair of 7-inning games on Friday night.
White’s stuff has played up since he turned pro. He has added 2-3 MPH to his fastball and his curveball is sharper than it was. His cutter is about the same, and it flashed plus. He uncorked a couple changeups that checked in at 90 MPH. It featured some downward movement to lefties and could end up being a legitimate fourth pitch if he works at it. If not, though, he already has three plus-or-better pitches in his arsenal.
He has a perfect frame for a starting pitcher. He stands to add a few pounds to fully fill out, but what you see right now is what you get. He’s athletic and has broad shoulders that should help him withstand a starter’s workload. He had Tommy John surgery in the past, so he’s not a model of health. But he has been healthy in his first two seasons thus far and his delivery is clean and repeatable. He delivers his pitches from an almost over-the-top arm slot. There isn’t much arm drag and he incorporates his lower-half well. He is a complete pitcher, and professional instruction has helped him take a step forward as a pitcher and a prospect.
Future: White could be on the fast track. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him jump all the way from High-A to the majors this season, but I wouldn’t bet on it. But if he continues to perform, he’ll be a strong candidate for Los Angeles sometime in 2018 — likely as a reliever. His future is in the starting rotation, though. He has more than enough stuff, but he needs to build up his workload. He only threw 2-inning outings in his pro debut and has a 4- and 5-inning outing under his belt so far this season. For him to be a starting pitcher long-term, he’ll need to build up his stamina in the minors. But if the Dodgers need a talented arm in bullpen, White will be on the short list. If he makes it as a starter, it’d be shocking if he were anything less than a No. 3 starter. He has No. 2 starter upside. Look for him to place highly in my mid-season Top 30 (July).