A Different Shade of White

White is learning to pitch without his best stuff

Every pitching prospect has to learn many aspects of the game as they progress through the farm system. Learning how to deal with an injury, getting to know one's own body, improving consistency with their delivery and command, are all at the top of the list. So is pitching when you don't have your best stuff, a lesson Steven White is quickly learning this season.

Consistency is the key to any professional baseball career and that is what Steven White is working on with the Trenton Thunder.

Despite an injury-plagued 2005, White managed to re-emerge as a dominating pitcher, striking out 22 batters in 12 2/3 innings while allowing just one run in his final two starts last season with the Thunder.

White is back with the Thunder this season and continuing where he left off as his 2.05 ERA is good for ninth in the Eastern League. White is hoping that this kind of consistency will get him to the next level.

"I know the stuff is there, it's just staying consistent with it every time out," said the 24-year old right hander.

Part of being consistent is learning how to pitch when one may not have his best stuff on the mound. White showed just that in his most recent start at home against the Binghamton Mets where he got a no decision after pitching six innings, giving up two runs (both unearned) on three hits and striking out three.

"I didn't have great stuff, but I still went out and did what I had to do to keep us in the game," White said. "Last year, if I had bad stuff, I would have just fallen apart."

Thunder pitching coach Dave Eiland reiterated that "he [White] has been able to do that on a couple of occasions this year where he wasn't able to do that last year."

The difference between 2005 and 2006 for White is getting to know his body and delivery. When White struggles, it's usually due to his left shoulder flying open thus cutting of his pitches and not being as effective.

White, along with many pitchers through out the minor leagues, also struggles with being too fine sometimes and overthrowing, trying to make a perfect pitch.

"It's simple, but in the heat of the battle, your body takes over and you have to learn to slow down a little bit," White said.

White, who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2003 MLB draft out of Baylor University, is 3-1 in ten starts with the Thunder this season. White, however, is not worried that more than half of his starts have resulted in no decisions.

"As long as I leave and we are still in it, I did my job," White said. "I don't think they look so much at that stat compared to other ones."

White added that walks and hits per innings pitched (WHIP) is the biggest stat, not the win-loss record. White has pitched a team-high 61.1 innings with a WHIP ratio of 1.19. White is also second on the Thunder with 41 strikeouts.

White, one of the top pitching prospects in the organizations, is looking to be promoted to AAA-Columbus later this year as long as continues to stay consistent at a successful level.

"The big thing is he is learning and understanding himself now," Eiland said. "He is too good not to move on."

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