Friday, December 29, 2006

Prospect Profile: Steve White (#15)

Age: 24
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 205 lbs
Drafted: 4th round in 2003 out of Baylor University
Position: Starting Pitcher
Throws: Right

Stuff: The big righty draws most of his strength from his two fastballs. He uses his long legs to pump his fastball up to the mid 90s. He is capable of throwing 95-97, but easily loses his command if he attempts to. The Yankees have him settling down at the 93-94 mph range, staying away from the meat of the plate. When not overthrowing, his fastball is a strength. He throws an above average major league slurvy curveball at 76-80 mph. He compliments this with a near-plus changeup at about 80 mph. points out that since he isn't throwing at full effort, he can stay effective deep in to games.

Command: If White is going to succeed, it will not be for lack of stuff. He certainly has the tools to compete as a good major league starter. That said, White's head is his greatest enemy. He has had trouble adjusting to higher levels, struggling both when first exposed to AA and AAA hitters. The Yankees believe that this is due to White trying and failing to throw the ball harder when he gets in to jams. He gets very nervous out on the mound. His control is not a strongpoint, but does improve considerably when he calms down. When focused, he has a reputation of a tactical baseball mind.

Outlook: White has a few things going for him. He is just 24 years old. His health record is exceptional (he was hurt by nagging non-arm related injuries such as an oblique strain in 2005, but pitched 175.1 innings in 2006), and his low-stress approach to pitching bodes well to his potential as a starting pitcher. The Yankees have a lot of faith in White, calling him up along with Hughes, Cox, and Clippard to sit in during the later regular season. White is however in danger of suffering from "Sean Henn syndrom" if he struggles at first in the major leagues. Joe Torre does not like to give rookie pitchers a second chance. Steve White may end up being trade bait because of this.

Grades: Ceiling B-, Health B+, Comparison: Steve Trachsel throwing a little harder.