With plus barrel control, hand speed, impressive raw strength, and an aggressive approach over 3 years at North Carolina State and LSU, Tommy White has some of the highest offensive upside of any player in this year’s MLB Draft.

Name: Tommy White

College: Louisiana State University

Bio: R/R 6-1, 228 lbs.

DOB: 03/02/2003

Scouting Grades on 20-80 Scale

Skill Grade
Hit 60
Power 60
Run 40
Arm 50
Field 40
Future Value 55

Analysis:

Appearing in 161 games over an illustrious three-year career, White has cemented himself as an all-time college performer. He is a three-time All-American whose 75 home runs are good for 8th all-time in NCAA history.

While not an explosive athlete, White is physically mature with strength throughout his frame, which helped him produce top-of-the-line hard-hit and barrel rates throughout his college career.

College Career:

White began his collegiate career at North Carolina State, setting a new NCAA freshman home run record by swatting 27 home runs and slashing .362/.425/.757 on his way to Freshman of the Year honors from the ACC and Baseball America.

Then, White entered the transfer portal and headed to Louisiana to join Paul Skenes and Dylan Crews at LSU. White was a key contributor in the middle of that star-studded Tigers lineup, putting up a slash line of .377/.435/.729 with 24 home runs including one of the most historic blasts in CWS history to send LSU to the finals:

 

White enhanced his status as one of the top third base prospects in the country in 2024 by posting another excellent offensive season, slashing .330/.401/.638.

Year HR ISO K% BB%
2022 27 .396 19% 9%
2023 24 .352 13% 7%
2024 24 .308 12% 9%

Stance:

White sets up at the plate with an open stance and his feet wider than his shoulders. He gets into a deep knee bend and stacks most of his weight on his back leg.

He rests the bat flat on his back shoulder as he waits for the pitcher to move towards the plate. As the pitcher breaks his hands, White flicks the bat off his shoulder and gets the barrel almost vertical as he starts his load. His hands work on two planes, coming down below his right shoulder at the beginning and then working back and up which helps him create a big stretch across his chest at his launch position.

Using his toe-tap timing mechanism, White gets all his weight stacked over his back leg with his first step back. As he steps back toward the pitcher, he creates significant momentum throughout his kinetic chain and fires his hands toward the baseball with a powerful punch. He posts against his front leg as his barrel works through the zone and finishes with a high one-handed finish.

Approach:

White said it best when describing his approach at the plate during an interview with SEC Network during the SEC Tournament in Hoover this year. “A lot of hitters decide when to swing. I decide when not to swing.”

He is aggressive in the zone early and often, regardless of pitch type. If he gets a pitch in the zone that he can handle, he’s going to swing, and given his advanced feel for the barrel he hits the ball hard very often.

We track college baseball data across Division I, charting as many games as we can. That allows us to use what we call our “Synthetic Statcast” tool to calculate some statistics that you normally wouldn’t be able to get.

Here’s how White stacks up to some of the other premier infield prospects in this class in hard-hit rate and barrel rate for games we’ve tracked:

Name Hard Hit % (percentile) Barrel %
Tommy White 45% (93rd) 12.6% (93rd)
Cam Smith 44% (92nd) 7.5% (68th)
Seaver King 34% (60th) 3.9% (29th)

White also has a very unique two-strike approach. He gets very wide with his base and presets the internal rotation of his back leg, allowing him to eliminate his stride without giving up all of his power. He minimizes his head movement, which helps with pitch recognition and tracking, and focuses on firing his hands at the ball.

 

He doesn’t lose the ability to generate power with this setup due to the strength in his wrists and forearms. Here he is with this same approach against projected top-10 pick Hagen Smith:

 

Defense:

The only thing that will keep White from being a bona fide star at the next level will be the uncertainty of his defense. After DH’ing for most of his time his freshman year at North Carolina State, White took over every day 3B duties for LSU.The 2023 season, was a struggle defensively for him at the hot corner, with 13 errors and an .859 fielding percentage.

Much has been made about how he was able to make improvements defensively this year, and while he was able to decrease the number of errors he committed, down to 3, and increase his fielding percentage, up to.971, I’m still skeptical about his ability to stick at third base long-term.

Another stat we track is the number of “defensive misplays” that each fielder makes throughout the season. These are plays that go beyond what you would find in a normal box score. We define defensive misplays as “any play on which the fielder surrenders a base advance or the opportunity to make an out when a better play would have gotten the out or prevented the advancement.”

Here’s how White performed last year vs this year:

Year Errors  DMs  GFPs
2023 13 15 0
2024 3 14 7

We can see that while White did make improvements in cutting down on his errors and increasing his good fielding plays(think highlight reel-type plays and smart baseball plays), he still has work to do defensively to stick at the position in the major leagues. With limited range and an average arm, White is likely more suited for first base.

Projection:

Tommy White is an extremely talented offensive prospect who is known for his above-average hand speed and advanced feel for hitting. He’s an aggressive hitter who can do damage on any type of pitch to any area of the field and organizations will love his offensive profile. His defensive shortcomings will likely force him into a 1B/DH role long term, but a college hitter with his track record of production should help him move through a minor league system quickly.

Comp: Pete Alonso

Draft Projection: Top 20

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