24-year old right-hander Alex White was one of two pitchers acquired from Colorado in December in exchange for Wilton Lopez. A first round pick by the Cleveland Indians in 2009, the University of North Carolina product took his time signing and didn’t make his pro debut until 2010. Once under contract White sped through the Indians system and made it to the big leagues on April 30, 2011. After making only three starts for Cleveland, Alex was sent to Colorado in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade.
White has posted some truly impressive numbers in the minor leagues. In a career that features 44 starts and one relief appearance Alex has a 2.65 ERA and a 1.118 WHIP. However, his numbers as a member of the Colorado Rockies are unimpressive. White has struggled since donning the black and purple. The Astros are hoping the mile-high altitude is at least partially to blame.
White’s repertoire includes a low nineties fastball with sinking action, a good splitter, and a slider. As you may have guessed, this combination leads to plenty of ground balls. In slightly less than 150 big league innings, White has posted a most excellent 1.73 GB to FB ratio. The downside to his batted ball stats are a line drive percentage of 18.9 and a HR to FB ratio of 18.9%. Both of these numbers are a bit higher than we would like. We can hold out hope that the altitude may have been a factor on his high homerun rate, especially since he didn’t have that problem in the minors.
His success at UNC made White the #65 ranked prospect by Baseball America heading into the 2010 season. After a solid first year in pro ball White’s prospect ranking jumped up to #47 by the publication. But some scouts have criticized his mechanics and fear his “inverted W” delivery make him an injury risk.
White still has minor league options available and some time at AAA could help to get his confidence back. If he can get things back on track I would expect to see Alex in Houston before the season is over. Alex is definitely a player to keep an eye on.