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Astros MiLB Discussion: Tyler White

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This late rounder keeps hitting....is there a chance?

Tyler White
Tyler White
Tim Deblock

Brooks

Tyler White continues to hit. There are several factors that prevent him from being considered a top prospect but that does not mean he doesn't hold value.


Do you see any possible outcome for White that contains a ML career? If so, why? If not, why not?

Brian

Yes, I do.

Let's be honest, there is really one reason and one reason alone that he's not considered a legit prospect nationally; where he was drafted.

Now that's not saying he's some kind of elite prospect and no one will admit it. He's not elite. He may end up showing an elite tool, or a couple of very good ones, but it's a fact he's not a great baserunner and doesn't provide hardly any real defensive value. It's also a fact that he hasn't yet shown the kind of power consistently you want to see from a guy who is likely a 1B/DH long term.

But he's hit, and he's never not hit, not at any stop along the way. Outside of his worst showing, where he posted a mere 130 wRC+ (LOL) for Quad Cities, he's ranged from the excellent 140 wRC+ area to the stupefying 180-something wRC+ he has now with AAA. His power numbers are up, too. He walks a ton, and strikes out less than he walks. We know this organization values K/BB ratio, and for good reason. You could shave 100 points off his average and the pop and walks he's showing would still make him a well-above-average hitter. At some point, you have to ignore the body and the round someone was drafted in and all that and say, you know what? He can hit, and people that can hit can make it in the Majors. They might not be stars, but they can make it.

So yes, I see an MLB role. He's not a Hall of Famer, and it wouldn't even shock me if he never makes an All-Star team. Buy a guy who hits for a decent average, draws a ton of walks, doesn't strike out much, and can hit 20 homers a year has some real value, even as a 1B/DH type, and that's what I see him potentially as. Wouldn't we all kill to get that kind of production from Chris Carter right now?

Anthony

It's almost impossible to imagine a path that doesn't have him entering the majors. You don't put together a 185 wRC+ in Triple-A and not get some taste of the Show.

The real question is whether or not that playing time comes in the Houston organization. The downside for him is that he isn't Rule 5 eligible this year, so no decision has to be made yet on putting him on the 40-man roster during this off-season. But it's hard to imagine that he doesn't get at least some consideration for it, particularly given the Astros' struggles on the infield corners. Over the course of the 2015 season, Houston has gotten 0.8 fWAR out of first and third base combined. Something's got to give at some point - and that point may well be this September.

It may be dangerous to think of Tyler White as a playoff roster candidate, but his career 12.8% strikeout rate as a minor leaguer has to look awfully enticing in clutch situations when you compare it to Singleton and Carter, each of whom is striking out in more than 30% of his plate appearances. Think about that: If Tyler White's strikeout rate doubled with the jump to the majors, it still wouldn't be anywhere close to what the Astros are getting out of their first basemen right now.

Sure, strikeouts aren't the end-all be-all of offensive production. In fact, they may be not much of a factor at all. But I do know that in the playoffs, with a slim margin of error, I'd rather have the guy who's less likely to create free outs. Roster expansion in September seems like a reasonable time to give him a look, and if things go well, maybe he's in line for a bench spot in the playoffs. Maybe.

With Singleton still ahead of him (and rightly so) and A.J. Reed coming up behind him, it's basically time for the Astros to either use him or to get rid of him; if he's not in Houston by the end of the season, I expect him to be part of a minor trade package. But at some point, for some team, Tyler White is going to be a big leaguer. You can count on that.