White Not Phased by Jump to AA-Trenton

Steve White was billed as a number one starter for the Thunder this year after posting a 2.60 ERA last year between Battle Creek and Tampa. In his first outing he was anything but effective, allowing six earned runs and walking four in an inning and two-thirds against the Erie Seawolves in the season opener. White admits that he didn't pitch up to his potential in his first outing and that he was much more pleased with his second appearance.

White's manager is on the record as saying that the jump from Single A to Double AA is the hardest jump in baseball but White claims he isn't phased by it.

"I know that this is where they start to weed out players at Double AA. I haven't noticed it [the difference] yet." says White.

Despite what White says about not noticing a difference, he does admit that there is a difference in the quality of the hitters he is facing.

"They are more intelligent. They have much more of a game plan when they set up to the plate. They make sure they get their pitch and they are very good at staying off the breaking ball." says White.

This is what Masse alluded to when he said the jump to Double AA is the hardest jump in baseball. White says the plan is for him to spend the entire year with Trenton in an effort to perfect his slider and changeup. White believes the effective use and development of his off-speed pitches are the key to his success at Double AA and above.

"I have to develop my off-speed pitches because last year I threw the fastball 80% of the time. At this level, they will hit your fastball. You need an off-speed pitch to get lefties out." said White.

White's biggest problem is trying to be consistent in his mechanics. He says it didn't really come together for him until the latter half of last season. White knows how to remedy the situation though, and its basically good hard work. "Sidework is what helped me to have it really start clicking at the end of last year. Repetition is the key. That's the biggest difference between Double AA and the Majors. They have their routines down. They know what they are trying to do." says White.

White believes the biggest mistake most young pitchers make and the one he hopes to avoid is trying to dominate the game by himself. At this level, White believes the key is to let your defense help you and not try and go for the strikeout on every hitter. Says White, "You can't fear contact. You can't try and strike every batter out because then you'll just run your pitch count up." White did that effectively in his second outing of the year against Altoona when he struck out just three in his six innings of work.

It is every player's dream to wear the Yankee pinstripes at the Major League level and White is no exception. White has learned though, like many prospects in the Yankee organization, that most of the decent talent in the farm system gets mortgaged for free agents to help the team win at the Major League level in the present. He openly acknowledges that his talent may doom him to never wear the Yankees pinstripes at Yankee Stadium.

"Of course, I'd love to play for the Yankees. Any player would, but I know how this organization works trading away talent for free agents, so pitching for any major league team is also fine." said White.

Through his first two double A starts, the jury is still out on whether White has what it takes to pitch at the Big League level. Ultimately, it will be the success or failure of his off-speed pitches that will determine whether White has a future in the majors or not. He is in a very similar situation to the one Sean Henn found himself in last year. If White can establish consistent command of his off-speed pitches, he will find himself on the fast track to the majors and if not, he could be in for an extended stay in Trenton.

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