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White driving the ball in the AFL after lowering hands

October 25, 2018

Evan White's first full season was a success by all measures, though it wasn't until late in the season, after he had made a mechanical adjustment in his swing, that the Mariners' No. 2 prospect began to truly impact the baseball.From the start of the season through the end of

Evan White's first full season was a success by all measures, though it wasn't until late in the season, after he had made a mechanical adjustment in his swing, that the Mariners' No. 2 prospect began to truly impact the baseball.
From the start of the season through the end of July, White batted .279/.343/.391 with six home runs and 18 doubles in 97 games with Class A Advanced Modesto.
Arizona Fall League overviews for all 30 teams
It was at that point that White, with the help of his coaches, began to tweak his swing, with the ultimate goal of driving the ball in the air more consistently.
"I lowered my hands the last month of the season," said White, the Mariners' first-rounder from the 2017 Draft.
"My hands have always fired up … regardless of where I've started my hands, they've always gone up higher." he said. "So the big thing was trying to get on plane for as long as possible and start elevating the ball more. So lowering [my hands] and firing from my shoulder helped a lot."
Sure enough, White was a different hitter the rest of the way.
Over his final 27 regular-season games after the calendar had flipped to August, the 22-year-old first baseman produced a robust .379/.467/.689 line with five homers and 11 doubles. That torrid stretch enabled White to finish his first full season with a .300/.371/.453 line in 124 games.
"Being able to make those adjustments and elevate the ball more was exciting," White said about his strong finish. "It's still something that's a work in progress, but being able to see some results early on was definitely exciting."
Now playing for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League, White has continued to show his newfound pop against arguably better pitching than he faced in the California League. Through 10 games, he's hit one home run and four doubles.
"Really just trying to be consistent with [my swing] and get that feeling -- do it over and over again. That's the big thing going forward," White said.
"A lot of these guys are from Double-A, Triple-A, even guys that had time in the big leagues, so it's always good when you can compete against those guys. It's a good learning experience, so I'm looking forward to continue facing those guys day in and day out."
Mariners hitters in the Fall League
Joe DeCarlo, C -- Back in the AFL after appearing in seven games last fall as a member of Peoria's taxi squad, DeCarlo moved up to Double-A in 2018 and produced a .246/.339/.440 line with eight homers and 16 doubles in 58 games. The 25-year-old backstop has good pop and a solid approach, and he's continued to make gains defensively -- 35 percent caught-stealing rate in '18 -- after moving from the corner infield to catcher in 2017.
Chris Mariscal, 2B -- The 2014 14th-rounder spent all of 2018 at Double-A Arkansas, where he slashed .261/.343/.360 with 27 extra-base hits over 120 games. The 25-year-old second baseman makes solid contact and has a sound approach, but a lack of power and speed as well as a penchant for whiffing could keep him from becoming an everyday player.
Ian Miller, OF -- In his first full Triple-A campaign, the 26-year-old center fielder hit .261/.333/.327 with 33 stolen bases in 114 games. While the performance was a step back from Miller's 2017 season, when he posted a career-high .307 average with 43 steals across two levels, the Mariners' No. 20 prospect did show a more refined approach, while offering his usual above-average defense in the outfield.

Mariners pitchers in the Fall League
David McKay, RHP -- McKay, 23, rebounded from a rocky first pro season to pitch at three levels, including Triple-A, in 2018. The right-hander pitched well at each stop, combining for a 2.58 ERA in 59 1/3 innings (42 appearances). He compiled 85 strikeouts (12.9 K/9) against 22 walks in that span, and held hitters to a .216 clip.
Wyatt Mills, RHP -- Mills, No. 9 on Seattle's Top 30, scuffled following his August promotion to Double-A but dominated during his time in the hitter-friendly California League, going 6-0 with 11 saves over 35 appearances. He also registered a 1.91 ERA and 0.90 WHIP, and compiled a 49-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 42 1/3 innings. The 6-foot-3 side-armer's pairing of a low-90s fastball with a tight slider makes him highly effective against same-sided hitters.
Anthony Misiewicz, LHP -- The Mariners' No. 27 prospect was sidelined for much of the first half but still managed to log 103 innings while making 23 starts between the Rookie-level Arizona League and Double-A Arkansas. The left-hander stands out for his ability to eat innings -- he finished with 147 2/3 and 157 2/3 IP in 2016 and '17, respectively -- though his ability to produce reverse splits suggest he's better suited for a bullpen role at higher levels.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.