Photo by Greg Bessette

Oakland A's 2017 top-50 prospect scouting report: Eli White, SS

Our Oakland A's 2017 top-50 prospects list is out. Now find out more about the players on that list. In this piece, a close look at top-50 prospect Eli White. White's pro debut opened eyes. What will he follow it up with in 2017?

Name: Eli White
Position: SS
Height/Weight: 6’2’’, 175
Bats/Throws: R/R
Age: 22
How Acquired: Selected in the 11th-round of the 2016 MLB Draft.

The Oakland A’s took a number of players in the 2016 draft who saw their stock dip during their 2016 collegiate seasons. It will be years before it is known whether that gamble paid off, but the early returns for one of those players – SS Eli White – have been solid. Can White continue to climb in 2017? A native of South Carolina, White didn’t travel far from home for college, suiting up for Clemson for three seasons. After playing 28 games as a freshman, White took over the everyday shortstop job for the Tigers as a sophomore. After hitting .297 as a sophomore, White was considered a potential top-10 round pick going into the 2016 draft thanks to his ability to hit for average and steal bases while playing solid defense at shortstop. White’s average dipped to .279 as a junior (although his OBP and stolen base numbers went up), and his draft stock fell slightly. The A’s made him their first pick on Day Three of the draft, taking him in round 11.

White played one game in Arizona and then joined the Vermont Lake Monsters, where he quickly settled in as their everyday shortstop. White would go on to win the team’s MVP award. Serving as the Lake Monsters’ lead-off hitter for most of the year, White hit .279/.348/.361 with two homers and 12 stolen bases in 15 chances. He also impressed defensively. White had his average above .300 for most of his season with the Lake Monsters before a final three-week slump dropped his average down.

Eli White Stats

2016 AZL A's 3 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
2016 Vermont 233 .279 .348 .361 14 26 65

Vermont manager Aaron Nieckula was impressed with what White brought to the Lake Monsters’ roster.

He has done an outstanding job both defensively and offensively. Here's a kid that understands the routine play and he has the ability to be fundamentally sound and he has put up some tremendous quality at-bats this year at the top of the line up,” Nieckula said.

Tall and lanky, White looks like a skinner version of Bobby Crosby out at shortstop. Like Crosby, White runs well for a man of his height and he has a strong arm and good range to the glove and arm sides. Offensively, White uses the whole field and is especially adept at going to right field. Nearly 60% of the balls he put into play went up the middle or to the right-side. The A’s feel White could add more power down-the-road if he looks to drive more balls to the pull-side and that was the main thing he focused on during fall Instructional League.

A’s Assistant General Manager Billy Owens likes White’s overall tool set.

From a tools perspective, he definitely has the ability to stay at shortstop all the way up the ladder. Good arm, smooth actions. A very good athlete. The ball comes off his bat well, Owens said. He has a chance to drive 7-to-10 over the wall eventually and he has the speed to steal 20 bases.

Whether White goes to Low-A Beloit or High-A Stockton to start the 2017 season will likely be tied to what the As do with another White (Mikey). If Mikey White repeats in Stockton, Eli White will likely go to Beloit so both can get regular reps at shortstop. If Mikey moves up to Midland, look for the As to challenge Eli with an assignment in the California League as they have with many of their newly drafted shortstops in their first full seasons of late. 

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