P (Probable) Alex White

He’s not yet available in Y! leagues, but Alex White will make his MLB debut tomorrow against Detroit. The Indians first round draft pick from 2009 and number two prospect (behind Third Baseman Lonnie Chisenhall) has put up stellar numbers through four starts in the International League (AAA). Let’s take a closer look at Cleveland’s hope for the future.

White will fill the hole left behind by Carlos Carrasco, who is experiencing elbow tightness/inflammation. Carrasco’s MRI came back “perfect” and there is no structural damage, but he was unable to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday and there is no timetable for his return [RotoWorld]. Mitch Talbot is also on the Disabled List with elbow troubles. Neither sound serious so White may find himself back in the minors within a few weeks. A short term rental he may be.

Minor League Statistics

2010 (A): 44 IP, 41 K (8.39 K/9), 19 BB (3.89 BB/9), 52% GB%
2010 (AA): 108 IP, 77 K (6.42 K/9), 27 BB (2.25 BB/9), 57% GB%
2011 (AAA): 23.2 IP, 28 K (10.65 K/9), 5 BB (1.90 BB/9), 52% GB%

As you can see, a track record for the 10.65 K/9 does not exist. However, it is encouraging to see he improved with each promotion. White was considered a top ten prospect by most outlets entering the 2009 draft. At the time only Stephen Strasburg and Kyle Gibson were viewed as better college pitchers. White has a pedigree.

White’s sinking fastball (88-91 mph) generates a lot of ground balls, which obviously helps limit HR damage. He’s allowed only 13 long balls through 174.1 IP in the minors. White also throws an above-average Slider, Splitter, Curveball and Changeup. He has good movement on his pitches and can change speeds to keep hitters off balance.

White does have some concerns with his mechanics and arm action. I’ll let Project Prospect take the podium:

“White has a long arm action. He breaks his hands low then picks the ball up with his elbow and swings it back before finally elevating the ball to the driveline and actually applying force towards home plate. His arm action is very dangerous, and causes a great deal of strain on both his elbow and shoulder. White hyperabducts his elbow, bringing it above his shoulder, in the dreaded “Inverted W” position. I have not found one pitcher with similar arm action who has stayed healthy.

Compounding the problems presented by White’s arm action is his lack of utilization of his lower half. White has a ‘tall-and-fall’ delivery, which places the burden of generating force on the smaller muscles of the upper body rather than the bigger, strong muscle groups of the legs. Lack of leg drive and an “Inverted W” is a really horrible combination.”

We really don’t need to concern ourselves with the potential injury risk (outside of keeper leagues) if White returns to Columbus when Carrasco or Talbot are ready to return. Plus we’re getting him on the cheap. We shouldn’t expect a ton of strikeouts, but when you see a Starting Pitcher sporting a 5.60 K/BB ratio in AAA, you click “add player” when he is promoted. Is he worth FAAB money? Maybe a couple bucks if he pitches well against the Tigers. I’d be more excited if Carrasco/Talbot were out for an extended period of time. I’ll definitely keep an eye on Saturday’s game.