White nabs AFL Pitcher of the Week honors

October 20th, 2021

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Five scoreless frames with five strikeouts earned Rangers No. 29 prospect the first Arizona Fall League Pitcher of the Week honors of the 2021 season.

A smile immediately crossed the 22-year-old's face upon hearing he was this year's first pitching recipient.

“It’s shocking, but all the credit to [catcher , the Nationals’ No. 20 prospect] behind the plate,” White said. “I thank God for it. I just came out and competed.”

Stacking outs in dominant fashion merely continues the success White enjoyed in September with Low-A Down East. In 18 2/3 frames for the Wood Ducks, he whiffed 33 batters while walking just two.

White’s presence in Arizona with the Surprise Saguaros validates the right-hander's talent. After being chosen in the second round of the 2018 Draft out of Carson HS (N.C.), White ran into a plethora of road blocks in his professional career -- Tommy John surgery in 2019, the cancellation of the ‘20 Minor League season, and this year, a broken pitching hand.

Despite those setbacks, there’s only one direction White is looking -- forward.

“Keep being positive, staying strong in faith; competing and staying committed to the game,” he said of his AFL mentality. “I got here for a reason and [I’m] just trusting in myself. I know that injuries were a minor setback, hopefully to the big leagues some year.”

While the Majors may seem a long way from Low-A, they're far closer than where White has been, having frequented Arizona on and off for the past three years during his injury rehabilitation process.

As the 2021 year progressed, White began to go deeper and deeper into starts. In his final outing on Sept. 19, he struck out 11 while allowing two runs over 7 2/3 frames. And that extension taught him a lot about himself and his arsenal.

“Being able to throw a variety of pitches, getting some more separation on the slider and curveball has helped me attack the zone more,” White said.

While being named AFL Pitcher of the Week honors current success, it has also been predictive of future success as well. Right-handed pitcher Nick Neidert received the award in 2019 and has made 12 appearances (seven starts) for the Marlins since. Also that year, Connor Seabold notched first-team All-AFL honors en route to his big league debut with the Red Sox.

The Rangers organization is well represented on Surprise with the club’s Nos. 4, 5 and 7 prospects -- Justin Foscue, Sam Huff and Ezequiel Duran respectively -- joining White. While Huff and many other pitchers around the AFL are banging on the big league door, White eyes a more simplistic approach to his time in the Grand Canyon State:

“Continue to develop my skills and learn from the guys around me.”

After one week of AFL competition, White finds himself at the top of the food chain. But don’t expect that to alter his demeanor. When asked whether he was anticipating a matchup with any batter in particular in the coming weeks, White quickly shrugged off the suggestion.

“No, I’m not like that,” White said, laughing. “Everybody here is good, they’re here for a reason. Just being able to play against them is an honor.”