At first glance, it may seem that Dodgers Top 10 pitching prospect Mitchell White is set for a particularly tough road ahead to breaking the Majors. The Dodgers starting rotation is already fully locked and loaded (Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer, Walker Buehler, Dustin May, Julio Urias) and backed by a depth that puts a handful of men in front of him. While it does seem an intimidating Iron Wall for any prospect to break though this won’t be too much of a concern for White. The true path to the MLB for the young right-handed superstar does not lay in the rotation, it sits in the bullpen. Mitchell White’s talent speaks loudly for itself and the Dodgers would rather have his arm putting on Major League mileage and not burn away any more mileage on Minor League innings. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has already been quoted as saying the best way to get White on the roster ASAP would be through the bullpen as a multi-inning guy, which lines up perfectly with his on-mound ability as well as the need to stretch out his health. Mitchell White has the frame of an MLB rotation workhorse, but with minor injuries nagging him through his career and the lack of a full 2020 season to lead into a 162 game 2021 season, it may be more fruitful to let him find his gears in the Majors with smaller portions of work each appearance.
Go behind-the-scenes with #BackstageDodgers as Mitchell White makes his MLB debut. Watch the full episode now on https://t.co/pqPVWDSv2N. pic.twitter.com/AeAI3eNByJ
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) November 20, 2020
The 26-year-old Mitchell White carries a fully loaded repertoire built to be featured at the top of the rotation. His repertoire includes a fastball that sits around 93-96 mph while topping out at 97-98 mph alongside a devastating hammer of a curveball that has pure swing and miss potential all the way through. White also carries a nice slider that runs with cut effect and a changeup that’s about MLB average, these pitches being good for different looks and setting up his primary offerings. He has all the makings of a swing-and-miss starting pitcher thanks to the power of his secondary pitches and with his physical build, he’s practically screaming to be a starter. The only issue right now seems to be nagging injuries. In fact, White only saw one appearance during the 2021 Spring Training (1 IP/2Ks/2Hits/1ER) due to a minor “shoulder impingement” that sidelined him for a few weeks while he worked through the slight bump in the road.
Mitchell White is ready to take the training wheels off and is heading into the 2021 season geared up to earn a full-time spot on the Dodgers roster. His performance with the team in 2021 showed that he’s more than ready to contribute wins to the big league roster. In fact, last season Mitch pulled in a win in one of the two games he appeared in. His MLB debut came last season on August 28th in a game that saw White throw 22 pitches (ten going for strikes) in one inning of work for a walk, a strikeout, and one hit while giving up no runs. His second appearance came exactly three weeks later on September 18th in a game that saw Mitch throw two hitless innings of no-run baseball while striking out one. He found a greater grasp on his efficiency the second time around with 18 of his 22 pitches being for strikes, not to forget that he was able to get through two innings on 22 pitches in contrast to his debut in which he needed all 22 to get through one inning.
Mitchell White features a 4-pitch mix with FB (92-95, touching 97), CB, SL, CH. All of them have been on display this year- here's a little taste… @TulsaDrillers @okc_dodgers #DodgersPlayerDev pic.twitter.com/Xv4Rndh82n
— Dodgers Player Development (@DodgerPlayerDev) July 31, 2019
The most important skill an up-and-coming prospect can show is not the immediate talent level they bring when debuting, but how they develop and craft their ability as they progress in the Majors. Mitchell White more than showed his ability to develop at the Major League level with his play last year, and even though it was only two appearances the increase in efficiency speaks for itself. Let’s not forget that those two appearances were also three weeks apart, which brings to mind the wonder of just how far he can go when given regular work.
It is expected that we will be seeing a lot of Mitchell White in the 2021 season, his value is too high to sit in the Minors for much longer and at the age of 26, you’re going to want to start thinking about the mileage that’s already been put on his arm and how to maximize future value. It is in the Dodgers’ best interest to work White at the MLB level and see what he can do and based on what he’s shown us so far it looks like Mitchell White will be at the forefront of the Dodgers pitching staff for seasons to come.