The Houston Astros have given Jon Singleton 41 at-bats this spring. He's hitting .146/.205/.341 with 16 strikeouts. They have given 35 at-bats to prospect Tyler White. He's hitting .371/.452/.514.
Ah, yes, Tyler White. Well-known to Astros fans, but just now getting noticed on a national level. He's an older prospect at age 25 and doesn't have Singleton's pedigree. He does, however, have an amazing performance record.
Here is White's write-up from the 2015 Baseball Prospect Book, after he hit .290/.410/.501 in A-ball:
Tyler White hit the snot out of the ball his senior year at Western Carolina, but scouts weren’t impressed with his tools and he fell to the 33rd round. He’s continued hitting the snot out of the ball in the minors and, well, he still doesn’t rank highly on prospect lists. You really have to hit to get noticed as a 33rd round pick and White has done that so far, showing good power and solid strike zone judgment. You can dismiss the Low-A performance due to age and downplay the High-A performance due to the Lancaster/Cal League effect. We really do need to see how this works at higher levels, but the important point is that White has earned the chance to show us what he can do. Grade C but interesting.
He kept mashing in '15, leading to this entry in the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
We’ve seen him at higher levels now and he continued to mash, hitting a combined .325/.442/.496 between Double-A and Triple-A. I saw him play for Fresno and he has exceptionally good strike zone judgment and makes hard contact with a quick, compact, but rather level swing. His home run power is likely maxed out and I wouldn’t expect more than 12-15 homers from him in a full season unless he completely changes his approach. That said, he could very well hit .280+ with a high on-base percentage and enough SLG to post an OPS well above league norms, so I would not advise changing said approach. White has a bad body, no speed, and a plutonium glove at third base. He’s not as toxic at first base but isn’t exactly good, either. I don’t exactly know how he fits into a lineup, but he is an above-average major league hitter. He reminds me a lot of Ron Coomer if you remember him, albeit Ron Coomer with a much higher walk rate. Grade B-.
And here he is mashing in the spring.
So, two questions for the house:
1) How do YOU personally assess White? Is he for real? I think he is, but what do you think?
2) Is it possible that the best thing for the Astros to do is given him the first base job over Singleton while A.J. Reed gets 400 at-bats in Triple-A?