It’s no surprise the Indians addressed starting pitching early in the 2009 MLB Draft. However, it might be a surprise that Alex White from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill fell into the lap of Cleveland. There has already been speculation as to whether the Indians will try and develop White as a reliever to help add instant relief to a woeful bullpen. This is, of course, contingent on contract issues being settled appropriately. Here is a quick look at White’s credentials:
White’s numbers as a freshman don’t immediately jump off the page. He managed to rank sixth in the ACC with 83 strikeouts, more than a third of which had batters looking. This helps explain his infatuation with control freak Greg Maddux. White helped key the Tar Heels run to the College World Series where they eventually fell to the defending National Champion, Oregon State.
As a sophomore, White earned ACC Pitcher of the Year Honors while being named to the third All-America squad. White was 13-3 on the year with a sparkling 2.83 ERA. He also struck out a new high of 113 batters. He helped key another Tar Heel run to the College World Series where he shut down two of the nation’s hottest teams in Omaha: Fresno State and LSU.
White’s numbers had a slight dip this season as his win total sank down to eight and his ERA rose to 4.13. His strikeout/walk ration mirrored that of his 2008 season, helping to silence some of his closer critics. Once again, he has helped push the Heels back to Omaha for a shot at the elusive crown for North Carolina.
This weekend, the Tar Heels open against the Arizona State Sun Devils in Omaha. The winner of that game advances to play the winner of Texas and Southern Mississippi. White showed his skills on the grand stage last year as a starter and a reliever. I would expect the coaching staff to use him in a similar manner if the situation arises.