Houston Astros rookie first baseman Tyler White was named the American League Player of the Week in his first week in Major League baseball. It is an improbable story that if you didn’t know it to be true, you wouldn’t believe it.
White, the 33rd round draft pick of the of the Houston franchise in 2013, has achieved at every level and every challenge placed before him. Found by Virginia and Carolinas area scout Tim Bittner, White recounted on MLB Insider radio on Sirius XM today that he prevailed over a variety adversities. Unheralded coming out of high school, the Western Carolina walk on’s ohysical make-up did not impress and few scouts even bothered with him. Bittner’s 2012 follow-up scouting report to the Astros simply read “good swing, bad body.” It was that good swing got that got White drafted albeit the 977th pick but look where he is now.
In his first week in the majors, White hit a whole lot and then hit some more finishing with a .556 batting average that included two doubles, three home runs, nine rbi’s and three runs scored in his first six games in the bigs. It was not something totally unexpected because White has shown the ability to hit where ever he has gone not to mention his discipline at the plate. One thing he is not is a wild swinger. In 2015, the 25 year old first baseman drew 84 walks against 73 walks in an era where the strikeouts have prevailed. A career .311 hitter in the minors, thirty four percent of White’s hits have gone for extra bases (72 doubles, three triples and 35 homeruns).
The week was full of firsts for White. He became the sixth Astro in franchise history to record his firs Major League hit on Opening Day. On day two in the big leagues he became the second player in club history to record his first four RBI game and by the way also hit his first big league home run. It had been 33 years since George Bjorkman did for the Astros on July 13, 1983 against the then Montreal Expos (Washington Nationals).
Not only did White become the eighth player in Astros history to post a three hit game in his first three games as a professional but he became the first Major League ballplayer to begin his career hitting 9 for 13 or better since Mike Schemer of the 1945 New York Giants (you remember him, don’t you?). If that wasn’t enough, he is the first player from the Astros 2013 draft to reach the majors. That’s the draft that included the much heralded and now departed Mark Appel.
White continues to do his thing in week two ranking first in slugging (.897), tied for first in rbi’s with Prince Fielder (10) and second in hits with 14, on-base percentage (.529), and an on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of 1.426 on the American League leaderboard. He is also fifth with three home runs.
As his dad said on Opening night heer in Houston, “this is just amazing.”