White was the Tigers 12th round pick out of Sacramento City College in 2007, and despite having additional college eligibility, he signed very quickly and made his professional debut that June. Assigned to Oneonta right out of the gates, White hit a meager .053 in six games to start his pro career, before the Tigers bumped him back down to the GCL to get on track. In 50 games for the GCL Tigers, White hit .279 while tying for eighth in the league with 15 steals.
Starting the 2008 season in extended spring training, White began to translate more of his tools to the field, and was assigned to Oneonta to start the summer. In 31 games for the O-Tigers, Chris hit .230/.313/.290; a disappointing line after a solid EST performance.
The Tigers promoted White to West Michigan in July when injuries struck the ‘Caps, and he responded with a very solid .284/.329/.473 line in just 23 games. White also stole five bases without being caught after being moved up to the Midwest League.
White is a toolsy player that has started his career at a very young age despite one year in college. If he were coming out of college at this point as a junior or senior, he would likely be very well regarded.
Defensively, White has very good instincts in the outfield. He gets good jumps on balls hit to all parts of the field, even those hit directly over his head, and he takes good routes to the ball. He has above-average speed, and that combined with his instincts enables him to be a plus defender at all three outfield positions. He has an average Major League arm that could play anywhere.
White is a switch hitter with good bat control from both sides of the plate, and comparable power from both sides as well. He is still learning to use the entire field as a hitter, but he has made strides in that area since turning pro. He has gap power now, and could develop some modest home run power as he refines his approach and adds strength to his thin frame.
Chris still needs to improve his pitch recognition, but he has improved in just a short time at Lakeland this season. When he's locked in and seeing the ball well, the ball jumps off his bat to all fields, and he thrives in tight game situations.
As a player that loves the game and simply loves to play, White has an excellent work ethic and he enjoys being on the field for both practice and games. He has the makeup and ability to be a potential fourth outfielder at the big league level.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% A+
White's career has not been hampered by injuries to date. He plays aggressively but not recklessly, and his baseball actions are smooth enough that he could avoid injury in most cases.
White has performed well since given a challenging assignment after starting the year in extended spring training. His defense, love of the game, and improving offensive ability have made him a player worth watching in Lakeland, and according to Manager Andy Barkett, he has made himself into an interesting prospect.
With some power development and a more refined offensive approach in each at-bat, White could solidify his status as a legitimate fourth outfield prospect. Without that development, there is still a solid chance he will earn a chance in the big leagues some day. Despite being in the midst of his third season in the organization, White is still only 21-years old and playing in High-A, a combination that bodes well for his future.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.