Although the Houston Astros starting rotation is already crowded, don’t sleep on RHP Alex White.
Jeff Luhnow and co. made their first “big” free agent signing this winter when they signed former Baltimore Oriole starting pitcher Scott Feldman to a 3 year/$30 million contract. Feldman seems to slot in as the defacto ace for the Astros for the time being, but after him, the rest of the rotation is up for grabs.
Sure, there’s Jarred Cosart, who had an incredible 10 starts after being called up at the All-Star break. Houston also has the likes of Brett Oberholtzer, Brad Peacock, Lucas Harrell, Dallas Keuchel, all of whom made at least 10 starts last season, as well as minor leaguers such as Asher Wojciechowski, David Martinez, Nick Tropeano, and Jake Buchanan all fighting for starting rotation spots. That list doesn’t even include potential superstars Mark Appel and Mike Foltynewicz, who will both be attending Spring Training as non-roster invitees.
That is a lot of pitching depth heading into the 2014 season. What’s more is that list doesn’t include Alex White, who made the Major League team coming out of Spring Training last year.
White slipped out of the minds of many Astros fans after missing the entire 2013 season following Tommy John surgery. Nine months later, White seems poised and ready to compete for a spot in the rotation. In an interview with MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, White says that he recovering well.
“We know I’m not 100 percent yet, but for 90, 95 percent, it feels good and the ball was coming out of my hand really well,” White said.
Drafted in the first round of the 2009 MLB draft by the Cleveland Indians, White was sent to the Colorado Rockies in the Ubaldo Jimenez deal. After going 5-13 with a 6.09 ERA in parts of three major league seasons, White was traded by the Rockies to the Astros in 2012.
While his major league stats have not been impressive, White has shown why he was taken 15th overall when he has been in the minor leagues. In 251.1 minor league innings, White has 200 strikeouts and a 2.65 ERA.
White does not have the raw stuff to blow major league hitters away, but when he hits his spots, he can be very effective. At only 25 years old, White still has room to improve and should not be considered a finished product, especially after missing all of last year.
This season, White will look to earn his spot in the already crowded rotation when pitchers and catchers report to Kissimmee, Fl. on Feb. 15.