Marlins select top HS lefty White with 35th pick

Miami also drafts collegiate outfielder Kemp Alderman in the 2nd round (No. 47 overall)

July 10th, 2023

By the time the Marlins were done with Day 1 of the 2023 MLB Draft on Sunday, they had selected the top two prep pitchers in right-hander Noble Meyer (No. 10) and left-hander Thomas White (No. 35) and added collegiate slugger Kemp Alderman (No. 47).

The approximate pick value is $2.42 million for White and $1.83 million for Alderman. 

“The way the Draft fell, we've always employed ‘take the best player available,’ and it was a huge spread from our first to our 35th pick,” senior director of amateur scouting DJ Svihlik said. “A lot of the best hitters in the country, much like in 2020, went off the board. So given some of the things that we do well and how we felt about these players, we were opportunistic, and we took what we think are clearly the two best pitchers in the country.”

While Meyer was a late bloomer, White has been on the map since colleges began recruiting him as an eighth grader. His freshman season was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and he was limited to 16 2/3 innings in a pandemic-altered sophomore season before living up to the hype.

The Vanderbilt University commit became a two-time Gatorade Massachusetts Baseball Player of the Year for Phillips Academy -- the first student at his school to win the award for baseball. Like Meyer, the Marlins saw all of the 18-year-old White’s starts during his senior season. He went 5-2 with a 1.66 ERA, 95 strikeouts and just 10 hits allowed over 42 innings.

“I think mentality,” White said. “It took a lot of maturing, especially as an eighth grader, getting a lot of looks from colleges or even pros, maturing and realizing that with all this stuff going on, I still need to put my head down and do work and not get distracted or not get a big, bloated head, I guess, or have a massive ego just because all this is surrounding me.”

Miami was surprised that MLB Pipeline’s No. 24 Draft prospect fell to the organization in Competitive Balance Round A. At 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, White’s fastball was up to 96-97 mph and missing bats up in the zone. He pairs it with an upper-70s curveball, which is thrown with high spin rates, and a low-80s changeup.

White led Phillips to a Central New England Prep School Baseball League title in 2022, but he surrendered eight earned runs in a semifinal loss in ‘23. So used to dominating every time he took the mound, White learned how to deal with failure.

“It was the first time I got hit around and I experienced a little bit of failure,” said White, who expects to sign. “It's going to happen whether it's college or big leagues or anything like that. No pitcher goes unscathed their whole career. It's just how baseball is -- a game of failure. Tip my cap to the other team; they played a great game, and they beat me fair and square. But I learned from it, learned how I can deal with failure, and what I can improve on the next outing.”

The Marlins capped their evening by taking Alderman, MLB Pipeline’s No. 55 Draft prospect, in the second round.

The 20-year-old hit .376 with 19 homers -- third most in Ole Miss history -- and a 1.149 OPS in 54 games during his junior season. His 80 hits and 151 total bases were the fourth highest in the Southeastern Conference. When the Rebels captured the 2022 National Championship, Alderman delivered three multi-hit games at the College World Series.

At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, the former football player generates some of the best raw power and exit velocities in the 2023 Draft. Another late bloomer, per Svihlik, Alderman’s quick right-handed swing plays to all parts of the park and is more compact than in the past.

Ole Miss has been one of Miami’s favorite programs to shop for players; the organization drafted catcher Nick Fortes in the fourth round in 2018. Svihlik envisions Alderman as a corner outfielder, though the Marlins might slowly introduce him to catcher like they did with Paul McIntosh, who is Miami's No. 26 prospect per MLB Pipeline.

“The plan for the pick was to take the most impactful bat on the board, and he's got massive power,” Svihlik said. “Anybody that saw that guy play in the SEC, it's massive, massive power. His strength and impact overcome a lot of his deficiencies, so our hitting coaches are going to really enjoy working with him.”