A year ago, we took a look at where Evan White ranked all time for Mariners first basemen before he even recorded his first major league put-out. Through extensive research, and personal anguish, we determined that Evan White was already the fourth-best first baseman in Mariners history prior to his debut. Unfortunately, the more Evan has played, the more questionable those results look.
It’s time to update those rankings, and place White in the spot that is true for him right now.
Are you ready?
I think you know where this is going.
Alright. Take a deep breath, and let the calm wash over you.
He’s last. He’s in last place. That’s right, Sailor, and I’m sorry to write it. But as things currently stand, there’s no way around this. He is the worst first baseman in Mariners history. The good news is that he obviously still has plenty of time to change it. But you can’t just roll out a 53 wRC+ over 84 career games and not expect to drop down the rankings like a rock. White’s ISO in 2021 is .093. You’ll find more in-game power than that in a third grade coach-pitch league. Now Captain Deck, sir, don’t you think it’s a little unfair to lambaste the lad for a performance over so brief a time as eighty four games? Especially considering the long-winded nature of the sport in question?
To which I say, “Sailor, did you even pay attention to when the first article that ranked him 4th-best came out? Clearly not. Sample sizes are for the seabirds.”
This blog is known for its optimism, so here’s the good news:
Firstly, White has managed to cut down on his unholy strikeout rate from the truncated 2020 campaign (I won’t even remind you what it was, for fear of melting your face off). In order for him to be a viable major league player, let alone a decent-to-good one, he absolutely had to do that. It’s still on the high side at 29%, but much more in line with league norms.
Secondly, he is a great kid.
Thirdly, he still has some time to course-correct his career.
Now for the bad news:
Look, I will put this in the simplest terms I can — he is not good at hitting. The fact that White has managed the aforementioned decrease in strikeout rate yet still has a wRC+ of TWENTY EIGHT so far this season is extremely concerning. It may be as simple as a hitter trying to find himself, adjusting to his own faults and trying to find ways to minimize them. Or it may be much more dire. If the power continues to falter with no real gain in contact, there’s not much hope to hold onto.
White should be going on a rehab assignment shortly as he works his way back from a stint on the 10-day IL, and for a player who has not tasted the refreshing waters of AAA since being thrust into the starting 1B role in Seattle, maybe it’s just what he needs. It’s just about criminal that White had not already been sent down to Tacoma for a time prior to the hip injury. It’s not fair of the team to watch him drown while holding a life preserver, simply because he’s being paid a major league contract.
He will not be *this* bad, when it’s all said and done. The questions that remain are, how close to this bad will he be? And how soon will it all be said and done?
There are a lot of chumps on the Mariners first base list, Evan. You can climb back towards the top.