Name: Mikey White
Height/Weight: 6’1’’, 200
How Acquired: Selected in the second round of the 2015 MLB Draft
The Oakland A’s took SEC shortstops with back-to-back picks to start their 2015 MLB draft. The second of the two picks, Mikey White, was the second member of his draft class to make it to full-season ball. Although he struggled in the Midwest League, White could be leading his class’s charge to the California League in 2016.
The A’s targeted White with the 63rd overall pick in the draft after the Huntsville, Alabama, native put together a strong three-year career at the University of Alabama. The son of a former Alabama football star, White was a leader for the Crimson Tide during his career at the school. He improved each season and finished his career with a .339/.444/.537 line during his junior season.
Although the A’s took another SEC shortstop – Florida’s Richie Martin – with their first pick in the draft, the A’s were eager to add White to their system. White and Martin were different prospects coming out of college, as White was more of a bat-first, glove-second shortstop, while Martin had lots of offensive tools he had yet to develop fully and a highly regarded glove.
Mikey White Career Stats
White signed quickly after the draft and joined the A’s short-season squad in Vermont. He played shortstop everyday for the Lake Monsters until Martin joined the team (Martin signed later because the Gators made the College World Series). With Martin’s arrival, White moved to third base. White had some previous experience at second base (where he played in one game for the Lake Monsters), but third base was relatively new to him. Vermont manager Aaron Nieckula said White handled the transition to third well and praised his willingness to learn new skills.
Offensively, White got off to a fast start with the Lake Monsters, and he hit .315/.405/.459 in 29 games. When Stockton Ports’ shortstop Franklin Barreto injured his wrist, the A’s promoted Beloit Snappers’ shortstop Yairo Munoz to Stockton. That opened up a spot for White in Beloit, where he could play shortstop everyday.
Defensively, White impressed during his time in Beloit, showing a stronger arm from the shortstop position than many anticipated based on his time in college. However, he got off to a 3-for-40 slump at the plate. Although he improved as the season went on, White dug himself too great a hole statistically to save his numbers. He hit .200/.283/.262 in 35 games with the Snappers.
Mikey White BP Video (video by Kimberly Contreras)
White admitted that pitchers approached him differently in the Midwest League than they did in the New York-Penn League and it took him some time to adjust. Nieckula said that White’s biggest weakness at the plate with Vermont was a vulnerability to chasing off-speed pitches and that vulnerability hurt him against the more advanced pitchers of the Midwest League. During the A’s fall Instructional League, White did a better job of laying off some of the off-speed pitches, especially those out of the strike-zone, but it is an area he will continue to need to improve.
A’s Assistant General Manager Billy Owens wasn’t discouraged by White’s struggles with Beloit.
“Mikey has got good fundamental skills and he is going to grow into power,” Owens said. “I believe that he should hit double-digits in homeruns in the future. Be right around that 12-15 homer range, move the ball around and tighten that strike-zone. He can play all over the field in the infield and he is going to be a good player for us in the system.”
While White will always be tied to Martin thanks to their positions and spots in the draft, White may profile more similarly from an offensive perspective to another former Florida shortstop who made a big impact on the A’s – Mark Ellis. Like Ellis, White is a right-handed hitting middle infielder who sees a lot of pitches at the plate, has enough speed to create some disruption on the bases and above-average power for a middle infielder. White will need to shore up his approach to reach Ellis’ level, but, if he reaches his ceiling, White could provide a similar spark to Ellis at the big league level out of the second hole in the line-up.
Defensively, White is likely to move around but could eventually settle at second base. If the A’s can keep White and Martin on different rosters, White should continue to see time at shortstop, but he is also likely to see time at second and third. As a shortstop, White isn’t likely to have plus range, but he has enough arm and good enough hands to hold his own there. He is pretty raw at third still, but he is athletic enough and looks to have the arm strength for the position. Second base may ultimately be White’s home, especially in an A’s system that is deep at third base.
The A’s have several middle infield prospects that they will need to find playing time for at the lower levels of their system next season, including White, Martin, Trace Loehr and Jesus Lopez. It is very likely that either White or Martin begin the year in Stockton, with the other starting the season in Beloit.