Evan McKee White
Height: 6'3" Weight: 220
Bats/Throws: Right / Left
Born: 04/26/1996 in Columbus, Ohio
Offseason home: Peoria, Arizona
College: University of Kentucky
Family: Wife Kari
Acquired: Drafted 2017 (1st round)
MLB Debut: 07/24/2020
Free Agent after: 2029 season
2020 went a little sideways when it came to performances from the Mariner rookies. White, so highly-regarded that he was signed to a six-year contract with three option years before he'd ever played a season above Double-A, entered the short season with high expectations. Kyle Lewis, also moving straight up from Double-A, whiffed so much in his 2019 September callup that just making contact would have been seen as a solid step forward. Instead, Lewis was AL Rookie of the Year and White floundered badly, posting an anemic batting line of just .172/.252/.346.
White did win the Gold Glove award at first base—the first of many, we assume—by showing defensive ability far and away beyond any peer at the position. But the hitting is a concern. Having skipped the Triple-A level, White was arguably asked to adjust to Major League pitching too quickly; with the experience of the short 2020 season behind him, he may be in a better position to handle the higher talent level. We'll see. He's tweaked his stance and his swing a bit, and it's started to pay off in spring training; mechanics aside, though, White's biggest problem is recognizing the pitch as it comes in and working counts. Always a fine on-base man in the minors, the Ohio native whiffed at a truly astonishing rate in his rookie campaign, swinging and missing at over a quarter of the pitches thrown to him. It's something he can learn from, though he may have trouble finding a good teacher; Seattle hitting coach Tim Laker hasn't appeared to be up to the job, so Evan might be better off hanging out with Ty France or Mitch Haniger and hope those skills can be passed through osmosis.