Rangers' White dazzles again in Fall League

November 3rd, 2021

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Fall League's best pitcher showed off his stuff again on Wednesday. Rangers right-hander permitted just one run in 4 1/3 innings, winning his fourth straight start as Surprise defeated Salt River, 3-2.

Texas' No. 29 prospect mixed five pitches and battled through some control issues as he scattered two hits, four walks and a hit batsman while striking out five. Three of White's whiffs came on his four-seam fastball, which sat at 91-95 mph, and he registered one K apiece with his 82- to 86-mph slider and his 78- to 82-mph curveball, which he did a better job of landing for strikes. He also operated at 88-94 mph with his two-seamer and worked in four 86- to 87-mph changeups.

"I think the slider today was my best pitch," White said. "It got some swing-and-misses and I stole some strikes on it. Overall, that's probably my best pitch, my go-to pitch."

The Rangers have had high hopes for White since signing him for $1.5 million as a second-round pick out of a South Carolina high school in 2018, but it took him almost three full years before he made his official pro debut. They put him in a deloading program after he signed, holding him out of game action to focus on conditioning and learning, but he still blew out his elbow the next spring and had Tommy John surgery in May 2019.

White returned to the mound in instructional league last fall and finally pitched in his first Minor League game this May. But he broke his pitching hand in that contest, slamming it on the ground after making an error. That sidelined him for three more months, though he came out firing at 95-97 mph in his first game back.

While the 22-year-old joined the Saguaros with just 35 1/3 innings under his belt, none above Low-A, he has excelled against older and more experienced competition. He has a pair of scoreless five-inning outings, an overall 1.40 ERA, a .156 opponents' average and 19 strikeouts in 19 1/3 frames. Besides getting more time on the mound, he's working on a new sinker grip and trying to refine his command.

"I feel like I could have done this the whole year," White said. "I made a mistake early on by injuring myself and hurt my team...

"I let my competitiveness take over. I was upset with myself that I made the error. Instead of acting my age, I acted my shoe size. Hurt my team more than anything else, so I apologized to the team and I'm just trying to grind it out now."

Nationals No. 3 prospect Jackson Rutledge also pitched well for Surprise, allowing one run while striking out three in as many innings. The 17th overall pick in the 2019 Draft threw 28 of 41 pitches for strikes, working at 93-97 mph with his fastball and repeatedly landing his 82- to 87-mph slider while lowering his Fall League ERA to 6.43.

Saguaros right fielder Seuly Matias (Royals) provided the game's only home run, a mammoth 447-foot blast way up the left-field berm at Salt River Fields. He took a hanging 68-mph curveball from Mets right-hander Garrison Bryant and turned it around at 109 mph.

Surprise ended a two-game losing streak and improved the AFL's best record to 13-5, three games ahead of Glendale in the West Division. Salt River dropped to 6-11, the worst mark in the league and three games behind Mesa in the East.