SEATTLE -- Friday was a day for Evan White to get a taste of what it's like to be in the Major Leagues.The Mariners' first-round Draft pick visited Safeco Field to tour the clubhouse and get acquainted with the players, coaches and executives, as well as to take part in
SEATTLE -- Friday was a day for Evan White to get a taste of what it's like to be in the Major Leagues.
The Mariners' first-round Draft pick visited Safeco Field to tour the clubhouse and get acquainted with the players, coaches and executives, as well as to take part in the pregame routine by fielding grounders and taking batting practice.
"I can't put into words what it meant to me and my family to be out there. It was an incredible experience," said White, who was signed by the Mariners on June 18 with a $3.125 million signing bonus.
Immediately following his final cut in batting practice, his mother positioned him next to the cage for a picture of White in front of his new surroundings.
Just like any mother would do.
And just like any young player taking his first Major League batting practice, White admitted he was nervous as he sauntered up to the batter's box for his first swing.
"I'm sure you guys could tell," White said.
But it wasn't obvious. The University of Kentucky star first baseman displayed his swing and ability to hit to all sides of the field. White slashed .373/.414/.527 with 10 home runs, 24 doubles and 41 RBIs in his final season at Kentucky.
And as impressive as that was, his bat isn't even his most highly regarded tool right now. He collected three All-SEC defensive team honors and two Rawlings Gold Glove Awards at first base in his three season as a Wildcat. Mariners director of amateur scouting, Scott Hunter, reported that in 1,500 defensive plays in college, White only committed two errors.
It's something White takes pride in.
"[Defense] means a lot to me because growing up, in the front yard with my parents, taking all the ground balls with my parents, all the scoops and stuff like that," White said. "It means a lot to see that hard work pay off. … I don't set out to win a Gold Glove, that's not why I do the work. But it's cool to win an award like that."
White will report to Class A Everett on Saturday.
Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.