Nobody expected Tyler White to be a major league starter. The Houston Astros first baseman was a mere afterthought during the 2013 MLB Entry Draft, getting selected in the 33rd round. He’s now playing for an Astros team that has World Series aspirations, and it looks as if he will be a key contributor.
The Astros first base job was wide open in Spring Training. Last year’s starter, Chris Carter, is now playing in Milwaukee, and former top prospect, Jon Singleton, has been a major bust. White stepped up during the exhibition season.
His performance garnered him the starting job over fellow prospect, A.J. Reed.
While Reed is the more highly regarded player, White might have been the most pro ready. He played a good portion of the 2015 season for the Astros AAA affiliate in Fresno, batting an impressive .362 in 213 at-bats. His numbers in the minors showed he had the ability to make contact, and can be a consistent hitter at the next level.
The one issue with White’s game was his lack of power. While splitting time between AA and AAA last season, White only went yard 14 times. It’s a disappointing number considering most major league caliber first baseman hit upwards of 25 home runs a season.
While he never showed great power numbers in the minors, White is proving to be quite the long ball hitter thus far in his major league career. He recorded a home run in three straight games dating from April 7th-9th. In addition, White has also recorded two doubles.
Regardless of how well White preforms, eventually A.J. Reed is going to force his way onto the Astros roster. But if White continues to play at this level it’s going to be tough for the team to sit him. Houston might decide to place White at 3rd base with Reed taking the reigns at 1st base.
This enables both Reed and White to get consistent at-bats.
Standing at only 5’11, Tyler White isn’t the most intimidating player on the baseball diamond. However, he’s proving to be quite the asset to an Astros team that is looking to win it all. It’s still quite early in the season, but Houston might have something in Tyler White.
Follow Daniel James Gentile on Twitter @dgentleman9288