The 2021 MLB Draft will begin on July 11, 2021. We take a look at Tommy White, a strong and powerful corner infielder out of IMG Academy.
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Tommy White, First Baseman, IMG Academy (Fla.)
Weight: 220 lbs.
2018: 31G, .243/.317/.378, 18 H, 14 RBI, 2 HR, 5 BB, 16 K
2019: 30G, .426/.473/.673, 43 H, 36 RBI, 4 HR, 8 BB, 11 K
2020: 11G, .444/.475/.888, 16 H, 18 RBI, 4 HR, 3 BB, 1 K
2021: 25G, .378/.462/.662, 28 H, 21 RBI, 3 HR, 7 BB, 19 K
Stats from 2018 through 2020 came at Calvary Christian High School. White joined IMG Academy in 2021.
White was described by Prospects Live as someone who “might be the best pure prep hitter in the 2021 class.” He is, indeed, a fabulous hitter with a smooth approach and powerful swing. With that said, there are major concerns about his speed and fielding, meaning the corner infielder could be delegated to play just first base in the pros.
White has a calm, poised approach at the plate that allows him to both make contact and hit for power. His presence at the plate allows him to find the ball and stay balanced, rarely looking silly when swinging for pitches. His spray chart is also intriguing to scouts as he is able to pepper the ball to all parts of the field. The same can be said about his power, too, as he’s launched home runs to left, center, and right. His hit tool is very good, and he has the physique and build to be an impressive hitter in the pros.
In addition to a balanced stance that prevents him from looking truly foolish, White has yet to display the aggressive all-or-nothing approach that many big-league sluggers deal with. This could certainly develop once he reaches affiliated ball, but until we see any signs of such a case, White remains a top option among this year’s high school bats.
Despite White’s promise at the plate, he has shown signs of concern in the field. Currently a corner infielder at IMG Academy, White’s poor fielding will likely lead to a permanent move to first base. This isn’t uncommon for players transitioning to professional baseball, but it still restricts any long-term projection of the 18-year-old. Specifically, White’s larger frame impedes his ability to be an above-average third baseman. His build limits him in terms of both range, fluidity, and glovework.
White’s biggest weakness is speed. He won’t be a base-stealer, and his subpar speed limits any range needed to play third base. It also restricts him from moving to the corner outfield positions. Nobody is expecting elite speed from a power-hitting corner infielder, but at the end of the day, it still factors into his draft stock.
Pro Comparison: Yuli Gurriel
This is a very strong comparison for White. Just one inch and five pounds separate the two in terms of physique, with White being slightly larger than Gurriel. Further, the Astros slugger has proven he can both hit and hit for power, as evidenced by a .290/.331/.475 slash line. Perhaps most interesting are Gurriel’s strikeout metrics compared to those of White. For every one walk in his career, Gurriel has recorded 1.992 strikeouts. As for White, for every one walk he recorded over four prep seasons, he amassed 2.043 strikeouts. That’s a difference of a minuscule 0.051 strikeouts per walk. Finally, Gurriel came up as a third baseman, spending 58.3 percent of his games at the hot corner in 2016. Ever since then, he has appeared in 464 games at first base and just 70 at third base. Such a path seems quite likely for White, though in his case, it will likely come in the lower levels of affiliated ball rather than the majors.
Draft Projection: Fourth-Round Pick
If White projected as a third baseman and first baseman, he’d likely hear his name called somewhere in the second round. However, it looks like he’s destined for first base long-term, which means his stock will take a hit. Bailed out by a very promising bat, White currently profiles as someone who will be drafted in the fourth round.