Get to know Marlins' No. 35 pick Thomas White

July 10th, 2023

With a big league-ready frame and a dominant high school career to match, Thomas White was selected by the Marlins with the No. 35 overall pick in the 2023 Draft.

Here’s what you need to know about the left-handed pitcher.

Position: LHP
Ht/Wt: 6-foot-5, 210 lbs.
B/T: Left/left
DOB: Sept. 29, 2004
College: Committed to Vanderbilt
High school: Phillips Academy (MA)
Born: Rowley, MA

Major hype disrupted by pandemic

To say White has been on the radar of pro and college scouts from a young age would be an understatement.

In the summer of 2018, when White was a 13-year-old entering the eighth grade, he dominated at a showcase in Florida, reaching as high as 81 mph. He began being recruited by colleges in the middle of eighth grade, and he got as high as 91 mph on the radar gun at age 14, all of which culminated in him being ranked as the No. 1 player nationally by Prep Baseball Report in the Class of 2023 as a freshman in high school.

That extreme hype would be put on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak, though. White’s freshman season was canceled, and with Phillips Academy playing a modified schedule in his sophomore spring of 2021, White was limited to only 16 2/3 innings -- with scouts unable to attend games in person, to boot.

Dominant last two years

When the reins were taken off of White, though, the baseball world was reminded of how dominant he could be. As a junior, White was named the 2022 Gatorade Player of the Year for Massachusetts, becoming the first Phillips Academy student to win the award in baseball. White’s season stats were something out of a video game: 70 strikeouts with only 10 hits and one earned run allowed in 33 innings. White led Phillips to its first Central New England Prep School Baseball League title since 2018, though he did not actually pitch in the championship game after throwing six strong innings in a 20-1 semifinal win over Dexter Southfield.

White was again dominant for the majority of his senior year, but he did not get the storybook ending of back-to-back championships. Coincidentally facing off against Dexter Southfield in the CNEPBSL semis for the second consecutive year, White was far less successful, allowing eight earned runs in four 1/3 innings pitched in an 11-1 loss. While the timing of White’s worst high school start wasn’t ideal with the Draft under two months away, he still was named the state Gatorade Player of the Year for the second straight season, exiting Phillips as the most accomplished player in school history.

College commitment

Elite high school players often face the dilemma of choosing between signing with pro teams and honoring their college scholarships, and White will be no different. White, who is the No. 1 ranked Draft-eligible left-handed pitcher by MLB Pipeline, is committed to Vanderbilt, which has long been among the NCAA’s elite programs. The Commodores have reached the College World Series five times since 2011, including a pair of titles in 2014 and 2019, and the star pitchers to emerge from that program in recent years include , and .

“It was the combination of really good academics and one main piece,” White told Prep Baseball Report about his commitment. “Vanderbilt is the best baseball program in the country. There’s no better place to develop as a person, player and human being.”

With White coming off the board with the No. 35 pick, he'll have to decide whether to play collegiately at Vanderbilt or start his pro career.

“It really just depends on what happens when the Draft comes around,” White told The Daily News of Newburyport leading up to the Draft. “I really love Vanderbilt, I think it’s absolutely the best school for me, and overall, whatever happens is a win-win situation.”

Big league body and velocity

Advanced analytics aside, White has two traits that will be appealing for pitchers for as long as the sport exists: he’s big and he throws hard. Listed at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, White particularly had a major body transformation during his junior year, adding 20 pounds and leading then-Phillips head coach Kevin Graber to proclaim that “he looks like an action figure.”

The velocity that got White onto big league radars in his youth has not faded as he’s gotten deeper into his teens. White has been clocked as high as 98 mph according to Prep Baseball Report, and his fastball is rated 60 on MLB’s 20-to-80 scouting scale. White’s curveball and changeup both currently score at least 50 on the scale, too, as MLB Pipeline reports that he’s “going to have a very good three-pitch mix in the future.”

High character

White’s measurables, prospect rankings and high school stats are all numbers that show up on a piece of paper or a spreadsheet. But what is less quantifiable for White (or any athlete, for that matter) is his character -- a field in which, according to all of those around him, White is as strong as they come.

“He wants to be a pro baseball player and has avoided the typical teenage stuff to achieve those goals,” his mother, Joanne, told Prep Baseball Report. “He’s a super hard worker and amazingly dedicated. I look forward to seeing him grow and develop as a baseball player and man. I can't wait to see what the future holds and we’re looking forward to being a part of it.”

Graber, who now works in the Cubs organization as a Minor League coach, added similar praise throughout his time working with White.

“Everyone knows about Thomas’s athletic ability and potential, but I’m most proud of the person he is,” Graber said after White earned Gatorade POY honors in 2022. “He’s an amazing student and super hard worker, and he’s also the first player to high-five a teammate, pick up equipment or rake the mound when he’s finished. When your most talented player is also your hardest worker and an amazing kid, that’s special.”

“If you look at him from the perspective of a pro scout or someone who evaluates a kid’s potential, I’m not sure what else you could want,” Graber told The Eagle-Tribune in 2022. “Everything I had hoped for when he was a not so little eighth grader considering options for ninth grade, it’s all come true.”