The small town boy from North Carolina made it to “The Show”, and showed some skills and potential.
Tyler White, a 33rd-round pick of the Houston Astros in 2013, hit his way into the team’s 2016 plans. After out-playing top prospects A.J. Reed and Jon Singleton, White forced his way into the major league line-up. He’s the kind of player you love to root for. He is what you call a late-round pick without amazing physical attributes and not much of any publicity.
Heck, he wasn’t even on the Astros top 30 prospects until late 2015, when his numbers just could not be ignored any longer. A career .301 hitter in the minor leagues, White was given the chance to start his major league career as the starting first basemen for a team with deep playoff hopes.
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White took off like a rocket, and put up eye-popping numbers through his first few weeks.
He hit 3 home runs in the first 7 games, and carried an average over .400 for half the month of April, and won player of the week the first week of the season. He quickly became a fan favorite, earning the nick-name “The Great White”. The legend of White began to brew and Houston thought it may had found its first basemen.
He then came back down to Earth, and finished April with an average of .250, with 5 home runs, and 14 RBI’s. He struggled to overcome to the adjustments that teams were making to him, and his productivity began to slip. White spent the rest of 2016 bouncing back and forth between Fresno and Houston. He lost close to 20 pounds as the season wore on and showed progress in his approach at the plate.
He was eventually promoted back to Houston in September. White then finished the year strong and played well enough to put himself back into the consideration for the 2017 season.
White will probably be in an almost identical situation in 2017, where he will have to fight to win the starting first basemen job. The job won’t come as easily though. In 2017, he will have to battle prized Cuban signing Yulieski Gurriel and any other players the Astros may go out and get, seeing that first base was a liability in 2016 for the team.
White showed some promising offensive skills in 2016. Just imagine if he can become more consistent and find some of that April magic once again? He actually could make a jump towards being a productive major league player in 2017.
***Statistics courtesy of MLB.com***