Prospect of the Day: Alex White, RHP, Cleveland Indians
Alex White was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the first round in 2009, 15th overall, from the University of North Carolina. Like fellow Tar Heel Matt Harvey (first round pick in 2010) in the Mets system, White signed late and didn't make his pro debut until the following spring. He was very effective in High-A (2.86 ERA, 41/19 K/BB in 44 innings) and Double-A (2.28 ERA, 76/27 K/BB in 107 innings) last year, and entered '11 as one of the best right-handed prospects in the game. I had him ranked as a Grade B+ pre-season, rated Number 25 on the Top 50 Pitching Prospect list in the 2011 Baseball Prospect Book.
White's stock was already high, but it's bolted higher in '11. He's made three starts for Triple-A Columbus in the International League, allowing four earned runs in 18 innings for a 2.00 ERA. He's given up 14 hits, with an outstanding 20/3 K/BB ratio. White's key pitch is a power sinker that ranges between 88 and 95 MPH. He locates it well and the pitch generates grounders, giving him a 1.83 GO/AO this year and a 2.07 GO/AO last year. He has two strong secondary pitches: a plus splitter and an improving slider.
Like Harvey, White has sometimes been seen as a future closer, but the improvements with his secondary pitches and command have eased those worries and he's definitely a starter now. If he continues pitching well for Columbus, he'll be ready to reinforce the Cleveland staff later this summer.