Evan White is one of the harder players to comp because he is so rare. He is a first baseman who is arguably the best athlete on the field. He throws left, but bats right. He doesn’t have the typical power stroke that most of the big hitters who call first base home do. And yet, he might be the best defensive player in the entire minor leagues, regardless of position.
There aren’t a bunch of Evan White clones running around in the majors right now. There are only a handful of first baseman with the athleticism to even come close. But remember, we are looking for statistical comps, not style comps, so that does help us.
But sometimes, the easy answer is the right one. Or at least, the one I am sticking with. Evan White’s statistical MLB comparison is San Diego Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer. Now, some of you are excited and some are underwhelmed.
Regardless of what you think of Eric Hosmer, he is an everyday MLB player who has a career triple slash of .280/.338/.435 with 1 Silver Slugger and 4 Gold Gloves on his mantle. Now, I actually think White can still be better than Hosmer. But both have had issues elevating the baseball to tap into above-average raw power, which hurts both players value.
Now what is interesting is that defensive and base-running metrics are not fans of Hosmer at all. Fangraphs has given Hosmer a negative BsR in 3 of the past 4 years, and his range scores and DRS (defensive runs saved) show an overrated defender.
The good news, White will be better than Hosmer in both areas. We already eluded to White’s defense, but he is a true 60-grade runner (20-80 scale). Hosmer isn’t a favorite amongst the SABR community, but he was good enough for a team to fork over $144 million to him, and White should be every bit as good as Hosmer.
Mariners fans will likely see White sometime in 2020 before sticking for good in 2021.