Alex White: Another New Talent In Cleveland
Everyone has been excited for the last week about the new talent in Cleveland and rightly so.
The NFL draft is often (and unfortunately) the best day of the year to be a Browns fan. The draft is a time of unbridled optimism and enthusiasm, when Cleveland’s next savior is uncovered and welcomed to town. With Heckert and Holmgren guiding the Browns, this is truer than ever this year: Phil Taylor, Jabaal Sheard, Owen Mericic, and the rest of the crew have some talent and jobs waiting.
But, in the heat of the moment, Cleveland failed to notice the arrival of another first round pick: starting pitcher Alex White.
Called up Saturday to face the Tigers, White’s career started off roughly as he gave up 2 solo home runs in the second inning. But after a mid-inning adjustment, White came out and cruised: while he did walk 4 batters, he didn’t allow another run through 6 innings.
How excited should Cleveland fans be about White? Plenty.
The 2009 first rounder is big, 6’3” 215, and has major league level stuff. In his first year playing in the Indians organization, White went a respectable 10-10 with a 2.07 ERA. He only struck out 117 batters, leaving him with a marginal 2.54 K/BB rate, but as a rookie that’s still an impressive stat line.
Control comes with age, illustrated by a nice jump in his starts this year in Triple A. White had a 1.90 ERA in 4 starts, striking out 28 in 23 innings pitched and walking only 5 (5.6 K/BB)- that’s Cliff Lee control. While those rates are inflated due to the competition, they suggest we shouldn’t expect White to maintain a 1K/BB ratio for the rest of the year. In college White struck out more than a batter per inning and maintained a 2.7 K/BB ratio which isn’t easy as a 21 year old in the ACC.
Is White the next Tim Lincecum? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t better than Jeanmar Gomez and a legitimate tool for the Indians in the rotation this year. If the Tribe continues to stay hot, White can be an asset in a run for the playoffs- though let’s hope Manny Acta doesn’t over pitch the new young talent.