Charles Justin White, although everyone has called him Boomer since he was in T-ball, hit .467 in his first year in the SEC and had a slash line of .386/.462/.517 overall with 24 extra-base hits and 10 stolen bases in 10 attempts.It was his first year in the SEC after sitting out a year after transferring from Texas Christian University where he hit .315/.367/.390 in 2014, his sophomore year.
At Houston Memorial High School White was a star in both baseball, an All-State performer as a catcher and outfielder, and on the gridiron as 5A All-State running back who gained over 5,000 yards in his career and rushed for 20 touchdowns as a senior.
Although he has played third base this year for Tri-City, many scouts believe the best place for the athletic five-foot-eight, 195 lbs. White, 23, could be at second. This year he has struggled at home in Gesa Stadium, hitting .176/.250/.209, but has been much better on the road at .286/.336/.378.
As with G.K. Young yesterday, with many college players coming off of long seasons the short-season leagues are not always the best places for complete evaluations.
We talked with Boomer about adjusting to pro ball and how to stay alive while transferring from TCU to Texas A&M.
You played at TCU and then transferred to Texas A&M. From what I know about Texas schools, they take their sports very seriously. How did that go over?
Boomer White: A lot of people were confused and some took it over the edge via social media. I think I did a good job handling it and I didn’t have any bad blood with my teammates or coaches at TCU.
I just grew up really wanting to be an Aggie. Initially it was a big deal because we had just been to the College World Series and I had some big hits for them. It kind of blew over.
Your numbers went up when you went to A&M. Did it help you sitting out a year when you went there?
Boomer White: Honestly my style of hitting didn’t change a whole lot. When I sat out a year I had some surgery on one of my ribs. I went to Cape Cod on my second year and got crushed [.212/.264/.241]. It was the first time that I had ever experienced failure playing sports.
That really brought back a work ethic and a drive to get back to where I wanted to be. I didn’t want to go through all of these transfer issues and then do nothing to help the A&M program.
There was some talk when you got drafted that you might not want to leave because you had such a strong commitment to A&M.
Boomer White: That is what I heard and there was some talk that was a reason I was falling on draft boards. What is strange is that I had told every scout that I spoke with that I was ready to go and make my run at the pros.
I was drafted as a redshirt junior but they treated me as a senior because I just turned 23. Although I did want to go, it was very hard for me to leave at the same time. I actually did go back and forth for about three or four days before I decided to go. I am going back in the fall and finish up my degree; but it was tough to leave.
They have you listed as an outfielder and catcher, but you have only played third here. Where else do you play?
Boomer White: I was recruited to college as a catcher and caught in the fall at TCU. I played both seasons at TCU in left field because they didn’t have a spot for me in the infield – I hit my way into the lineup.
I was a decent outfielder, but I don’t have great speed. I played third this spring for A&M but I was drafted as a second baseman because that is where the pro scouts see my future. I’m very comfortable at third and enjoy being there.
Did it take you awhile to get relaxed once you came here?
Boomer White: I’m convinced that I wasn’t trying to do too much but my problem was that I was giving the pitchers too much credit. I don’t think the pitching that I am facing right now is as good as some of the pitching that I saw in the SEC.
It’s funny, I spoke with Chris Baker and he said the same thing about the Pac-12.
Boomer White: If you look at some of the pitchers that I faced the SEC, they are pretty good. I think of the 13 guys this year that we went against, they were either taken in the first round this year or will be next. All of them are throwing three pitches for strikes and have velocity.
Here if you see velocity, they usually don’t have any other pitch. So for me it just knowing that I have this before even though I am now hitting with wood.
There are some differences in hitting with wood.
Boomer White: Yeah, but if you hit the ball in the middle of the bat it is going to go just as far. My approach has changed in that I am getting more comfortable.
How do you want to finish out the season?
Boomer White: I just want to try to hit balls hard and give myself a chance. You don’t want to get into chasing numbers because that will screw up your approach. I want to try to help the team win and get to the post-season in the Northwest League.
In the field, I always want to make as few errors as possible and help out the pitchers. I’ve always thought if you play the game the right way you will be rewarded in the end.