1B EVAN WHITE
Despite a well-documented history of mediocrity, the Mariners have had great success in supplementing several of their positions over the years. For some reason, however, they just can’t find a solution at first base. In comes Evan White, who may immediately become the MLB’s best defensive first baseman upon his arrival.
Last week, White was awarded the 2018 Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove for his elite defensive play at the corner over the course of this past season. This is nothing new to White, who also pocketed two Gold Gloves back at the University of Kentucky. While White’s bat impressed scouts in college, the defensive success drove his stock all the way into the first round of the 2017 MLB Draft, where the Mariners selected him 17th overall.
Alike Braden Bishop, White has always been regarded as a defense-first player when projecting his outlook for the MLB. His bat was raw, but showed gap-to-gap power with the ability to get one over the fence every now and then. In 2018, however, White came into his own offensively, reaping the rewards of an adjusted swing and plate approach. Over the course of 120 games with High-A Modesto, White slashed .303/.375/.458 with 11 home runs and 66 RBIs, which earned him an invite to this year’s Arizona Fall League.
White even saw some time in Triple-A Tacoma this year, going 4-for-18 in four games. Given this experience, it’s not out of the question that White may skip Double-A altogether and begin his 2019 season with the Rainiers. Taking over Joey Curletta’s role as Arkansas’s starting first baseman seems to be a more likely outcome, though.
There really is no rush for White to make it to the Majors, really. With Ryon Healy under club control for the next four years, and Robinson Canó potentially heading there full-time in the latter years of his career, the Mariners aren’t necessarily dying to fill their first base role. But White seems close to being Major League ready, and another successful year in the Minors for him may result in a September call-up in 2019.