With the 15th pick of the 1st round in the MLB Draft, the Cleveland Indians have selected hard-throwing RHP Alex White out of the University of North Carolina. The 20-year-old stands 6-3, 200 pounds and was 13-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 20 games (15 starts) for the Tar Heels during the 2008 season. He struck out 113 while walking 42 to go along with a 1.15 WHIP. This year with UNC, he has struggled slightly as he is only 8-4 with a 4.13 ERA in 15 starts. On the flip side, opponents are batting only .234 against him, and he has struck out 109 in 98.0 innings of work while allowing 10 home runs and 15 wild pitches and permitting 41 walks.
From MLB.com’s scouting report on White: “White was a top high school prospect in 2006, but went to UNC instead. He’s still one of the better arms now, though his performance in the spring has been a little uneven. He does have plus stuff with a fastball-slider combination along with the makings of two other pitches. He doesn’t always command his fastball that well, but that could be corrected with some mechanical tweaks. With his stuff and his track record, he’s likely to go pretty early on Draft Day.”
(Update: Per Brad Grant, director of amatuer scouting…)
– Three-pitch pitcher. Up to 96 MPH (plus) fastball with heavy life. Split-finger fastball and slider are both “swing-and-miss” pitches.” Has very good size and has had a very good career.
– The team has had their eye on him since he was in high school. They were unable to draft him after his senior year, but have scouted him for his career at UNC. He was the top talent on their draft board at the time, and they feel lucky to have drafted him at 15.
– White is projected as a back-end, power bullpen arm. Where he starts with the team will depend on when he is signed.
– UNC is currently in the Super Regional of the NCAA, he is under their control until he is signed by the team. He was drafted with the intention of being signed.
– The team is very high on his mental makeup, family upbringing, athleticism, intellegence and strength in values. Considered to have a “plus-plus” makeup.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.