It took Evan White less than a year since he was drafted to reach the highest level of the Minors -- at least temporarily -- and the second-ranked Mariners prospect has already shown his new teammates his potential.
White doubled twice in a three-hit debut performance as Triple-A Tacoma was routed by Nashville, 11-3, on Friday night at First Tennessee Park. He saw only four pitches in rapping out the three hits, hacking at the first offering for each of his first two knocks -- a double and a single.
"I was just going up there trying to stick with my approach and hunt my pitch early on in counts," he said. "That happened to work out that they were throwing those early on in counts."
Video: Rainiers' White rips 2nd double in Triple-A debut
The 22-year-old leapfrogged a level of the Minors, jumping straight from Class A Advanced Modesto in the California League to the Pacific Coast League. In 50 games with the Nuts, White batted .282/.352/.406 with 16 extra-base hits (three homers, three triples, 10 doubles), 28 runs scored and 24 RBIs.
Drafted out of the University of Kentucky in the first round last June, the native of Columbus, Ohio spent his first summer in the professional ranks with Class A Short Season Everett. He went 13-for-47 (.277) over 14 games with the AquaSox, clubbing three roundtrippers and driving in 12 runs.
A .356 hitter with the Wildcats, White eclipsed his homer totals from his first two seasons in his junior year, bashing 10 long balls and setting career highs with 24 doubles and 41 RBIs. He hit only seven homers combined in his first two seasons.
Gameday box score
Scouts profile White as a gap-to-gap, line-drive hitter with a flat swing and good strike zone discipline. What's fairly unusual is that he bats righty and throws lefty and does not possess the power typical of first basemen. He's credited with good bat speed, which, combined with his long 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame, can help him develop better pop.
Although it seems that White had a streamlined path to Tacoma, his promotion was made out of necessity as a temporary measure. The Rainiers needed a first baseman as 11th-ranked prospect Daniel Vogelbach was recalled to the big league squad. White, who expects to be joined by his nearby family sometime during his stay in Nashville, expects to return to Modesto very soon.
Nevertheless, White has enjoyed getting a taste of what's waiting for him in the future.
"Getting the opportunity to play with these guys, I was really looking forward to it. It was cool to play in the bigger atmosphere," he said. "Food's a little better, hotel, travel, stuff like that. ... I haven't had the chance to play in front of an atmosphere like that in a long time, so it was cool."
In just his 65th professional game, White lined the first pitch he saw from Nashville starter J.B. Wendelken into center field for a double in the second inning, then jumped on the first offering from the right-hander again in the fifth, rolling a single through the left side.
"It was just a good day of hunting the pitches and the pitches were there," White said. "I just try to stick with my approach and not do too much."
Facing left-hander Dean Kiekhefer in the sixth, White worked his deepest count, 1-0, and smacked another double to center. He also bounced back to lefty Jeremy Bleich on the second pitch of his final at-bat in the ninth.
"It's just been a day [and] I've only seen six total pitches, but the consistency in arms and stuff like that ... guys are better at each and every level at hitting their spots and just being consistent," he said. "That's been my short, little experience here so far."
Anthony Garcia hit a grand slam and a double to drive in five runs for Nashville.