I’ve long been a Mitch White stan. I saw him in person coming up through the minors and wrote a glowing #notascout scouting report on him. His time in the majors has been met with mixed reviews, but I’m still a believer.
Then, he went out on Wednesday night and threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, just increasing my fervor for him and his future. I still think he might be destined for the bullpen because of inconsistency with velocity and command, but he’s definitely a Major League arm.
Max seems to think there’s something there, too.
And he might have a secret/not-so-secret weapon to aid him in his journey.
Statcast hasn’t yet classified his slider and cutter as two different pitches, but I’ve always kinda thought that was the case, too. Either way, the pitch has been almost unhittable in his 35 1/3 innings this season:
- .042 BA
- .082 xBA
- .042 SLG
- .100 xSLG
- .130 xwOBA
- 34.5 Whiff%
Small sample size caveat applies here — not just in innings pitched but also usage. He’s only throwing it 16% of the time, but I’d expect an increase in the usage, especially since his curveball hasn’t fared as well as this season (.286 BA, .429 SLG). But it still gets a good amount of vertical movement and he can still miss bats with it (26.1 Whiff%).
His 4-seam fastball usage is at 53.8%. His outing against Pittsburgh on Wednesday was the longest of his pro career, and he threw it at an, unsurprising, 53.8% clip. The average velocity dipped to 93.2 MPH, which makes sense since he hadn’t thrown more than four innings or 65 pitches in an MLB game before Wednesday. Perhaps a further dip in usage on his fastball — a la Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urias — with an increase in slider/cutter usage, could lead to even more success, as long as the added exposure to his slider/cutter doesn’t lead to teams figuring it out.
White is the definition of an enigma. He has worlds of talent and the ability to be a top-tier guy. But there’s a reason players never reach their ceilings. I’m not saying White won’t, but he has gone from legit prospect to fringe-prospect and back to legit prospect (whose prospect status is almost exhausted). Either way, as long as White continues to improve and is consistent, he should be a valuable pitcher for the Dodgers in some capacity.