When the Mariners took White out of the University of Kentucky with the 17th overall pick in the 2017 Draft, they thought they were getting an advanced and mature player on both sides of the ball. He's lived up to those expectations, making All-Star teams in each of his first two full seasons and going to the Futures Game in 2019. The Mariners were so confident in his future that they signed him to a six-year contract last November, making him just the fourth player in history to sign a long-term deal before reaching the Majors -- and the first to do so without experience above Double-A.
White has shown an advanced approach at the plate since entering pro ball with the ability to hit for average and post solid on-base numbers as well. He makes a ton of hard contact and sends line drives to all fields with the chance to be a plus hitter. Both White and the Mariners knew his power would start to come, and when he lowered his hands at the plate late in 2018, he added leverage to his swing, leading to more over-the-fence power in 2019 and there's likely more to come as he continues to mature. While he hasn't been a base-stealing threat, White has excellent speed and is an outstanding baserunner.
In addition to his offensive profile, White is by far the best defensive first base prospect in the game and will immediately become a Gold Glove contender when he reaches the big leagues. His plus range, outstanding footwork, soft hands and strong arm earn him votes as the best overall defensive prospect in the game at any position, with some believing he deserves an 80 fielding grade. With his contract in hand, the path is paved for White to become one of the better all-around first basemen in the big leagues.
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 70 | Overall: 55
White spent three years as a starter for the University of Kentucky establishing his hitting bona fides and left with a career .356 average, good for fifth on the all-time Wildcats list. That allowed him to become the second-highest drafted player from the program, after Chad Green, and he went on to have a solid first full season, spent in the California League, and capped it off with a stint in the Arizona Fall League.
Because of White's advanced approach at the plate, a willingness to draw walks and the ability to make consistent hard contact, few question his ability to hit. He's already shown the ability to send line drives to all fields, and an adjustment he made late in 2018, lowering his hands in his setup, started to allow him to create leverage and tap into his raw power more effectively, as he slugged over .700 in August. White runs very well and has a strong arm, and showed he's more than capable in the outfield during his time with Team USA before his junior year.
A move to the outfield, however, would take the best defensive first baseman in the Minors away from his natural position. His footwork, range and hands led to some evaluators bringing him up as one of the best defensive prospects, period, in the game. He has the chance to be a Gold Glover, and with his new adjustments at the plate, he could have more of the prototypical offensive profile for the position than people expected.
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 70 | Overall: 50
White has an unusual profile. He bats right-handed and throws left-handed, he's as athletic as it comes among first basemen and -- unheard of at his position -- his power might be weakest among all of his tools. After producing consistently at the plate while making year-to-year improvements throughout three seasons at Kentucky, White, a USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalist, joined Chad Green (Brewers, 1996) as the only Wildcats position players ever to get drafted in the first round.
White manages the strike zone well and usually focuses on hitting line drives from gap to gap with a relatively flat swing. He has good bat speed and a long frame built to create leverage, so power should come once he adds more strength to his body and more loft to his swing. Meanwhile, the fact that he turned on more pitches last spring at Kentucky en route to a career-best 10 home runs -- he combined for seven homers during his freshman and sophomore seasons -- bodes very well for his future.
A plus runner with solid arm strength, White proved a very capable corner outfielder with the U.S. college national team in 2016. The Mariners, however, will deploy him exclusively at first base, where has has the potential to become a Gold Glove defender.
White has an unusual profile. He bats right-handed and throws left-handed, he's as athletic as it comes among first basemen and -- unheard of at his position -- his power might be weakest among all of his tools. He has produced and improved throughout three seasons at Kentucky, and he should join Chad Green (Brewers, 1996) as the only Wildcats position players ever to get drafted in the first round.
White manages the strike zone well and usually focuses on hitting line drives from gap to gap with a relatively flat swing. He has good bat speed and a long frame built to create leverage, so power should come once he adds more strength to his body and more loft to his swing. He's starting to turn on more pitches this spring, which bodes well for his future.
Whichever team drafts White will have to decide whether to deploy him as a potential Gold Glove first baseman or to try him in the outfield. Former Wildcats coach Gary Henderson thought he had the tools to try center field in pro ball. A plus runner with solid arm strength, White handled himself well on the outfield corners with the U.S. college national team last summer.