Future White Closer Than It Appears

White has become more consistent this season

One of the most significant characteristics of a young pitcher's maturation is how he bounces from his first setback or disappointment. The Clippers 24-year-old Steven White entered 2006 in such a position, ready to shake off his last year's inadequate performance at Trenton and Tampa.

White, a 4th round pick of the Yankees, is poised to for a strong season to reaffirm his position as a top pitching prospect within the organization as he earned his first call to Columbus.

Promoted on June 7th, he as shown consistency in first few weeks in the Clippers rotation. After posting an impressive 4-1 record and 2.11 ERA in 68 1/3 innings pitched, a slot in the Clippers inconsistent rotation was the sign of the organization's renewed faith in the right-hander.

Since then, White has recorded a 1-2 mark, but has kept his consistency he showed in Trenton by maintaining a 3.41 ERA in 29 IP in five starts after Monday's appearance versus Charlotte. Consistency is an element of White's game which he has emphasized and says has helped him move up.

"Consistency is a big part of my game. This year, I've been in a lot better pitcher's counts which have helped me stay away from giving up too many walks, although I'm probably still giving up too many," said White.

White, who commands a strong fastball, an above average curveball and a tricky changeup has worked with his coaches in Trenton and Clippers' pitching coach Neil Allen on finishing his delivery to its completion. Working that out White recognizes has helped his control and advantage over the batter.

"It's been something I've been working since Trenton with my coaches there and Neil. He's helped me take it one step at a time and it's helped my game get better and it's given me self-control over my game," said White.

As far as his repertoire, White is satisfied with his current arrangement and doesn't foresee any additions to his selection, as he stated, "It's better, right now, to have three out pitches then to throw four average pitches. So I'm just making sure I have total control over these pitches before I add anything else".

The expansion of a fourth pitcher is all but necessary to a real future in the big leagues. For now, three pitches will help White excel at the Triple-A level as he faces his highest caliber play yet in his young career. The move up to Columbus is a tough transition for prospects in the system and learning to adjust to the more proficient hitting is a tough task - a sentiment White shares and many of his teammates have echoed in past to PinstripesPlus.com.

"To make it at this level, you have look at it that it's the same guys just with a little more experience. There is that little extra focus and patience that won't make guys chase a pitch. You can't throw guys here a 2-0 fastball because chances are it's going to get hit hard. I can't lose focus or get into trouble and expect to get out of it here," said White.

With many young, up and coming arms in the Yankees organization, it is going to take that extra physical or intangible element to progress to the top. With such a high draft standing, Steven White already has the attention of many and now it will all be about putting it together on the field.

White has shown great resilience after posting a 2-7 record and a 5.80 ERA in 62 IP in 2005, split between Trenton and Tampa. That mental strength to come back this season with such improvement speaks volumes to the positive attributes he possesses.

"Last year was a fluke. I was hurt for a little bit, had some things that did not go my way. I learned from it and come back this year with a new attitude. Being a top prospect is good and all but there are guys who aren't top prospects who are in the Majors because they figured it out and are now contributing to big clubs. I can't be concerned with what people are saying about my stats, I just have to go out and get guys out," explained White.

Even with a season-long setback in 2005, White's ascension to the Clippers roster has come quicker than most. He relishes in the chance to perform at the highest level possible and welcomes the change in environment. The exposure to the Clippers roster and all the big-league experience circulating the clubhouse, White praises as a welcoming atmosphere for a young player's growth.

"It's a lot more laid back up here being around guys who have been in the bigs. We've got almost 50 years of big league experience and it's great getting to pick up on all the little aspects of what they do to get ready," said White.

Although White went on explain that he misses the companionship of his Trenton teammates, he is focused on the task at hand, helping the Clippers continue their recent success since his promotion. With a clear road ahead, White will continue to development his game as the 2006 season climbs on.

Playing with high confidence and without injury has allowed White to thrive this season. Now, with the chance to eat innings and prove his worth to the organization, the future Steven White may be closer than it appears.

PinstripesPlus.com Recommended Stories

Up Next