Dax Whitney is a rising prospect from Idaho

Across the nation, professional baseball scouts meticulously comb through towns, seeking out hidden talent in anticipation of the upcoming MLB draft. 

Among these prospects is Dax Whitney, a right-handed pitcher and high school senior from the quaint town of Blackfoot, Idaho, which has an approximate population of 13,000. With each impressive performance, Whitney steadily ascends draft boards, becoming a coveted prospect for talent evaluators this spring.

Scouts project Whitney as a potential early-round pick in July’s draft. Idaho has not had a player drafted in the first five rounds from a high school or college in the state since outfielder Mason Smith of Rocky Mountain High School went in the fourth round in 2013.

“I just rely on all the work I’ve put in,” Whitney said. “I know there are all these guys in the stands coming to what me play, but I just rely on what I’ve done in the past to go out there and perform. I’ve done a good job of not letting the scouts get to me. They’re here for a reason, so I just have to go show them why they should be here and that I’m good enough to be on their team.”

Whitney is a 6-foot-5, 195-pound right-handed pitcher who throws a four-seam fastball, curveball, slider and changeup from a short and quick arm action, over-the-top arm slot and athletic delivery. His delivery also creates plenty of deception. 

Whitney’s fastball generates really good vertical upward movement and has touched 96 mph this spring. He commands the pitch well and generates plenty of swings and misses with the pitch.

The righty’s 12-to-6 curveball plays well off of his fastball. It’s a high-70s pitch that he uses early in the count to land a strike and as a put-away pitch. His slider initially started as a cutter before evolving into a big sweeping breaking pitch. It’s an 84-87 mph strikeout pitch. 

Scouts rave about Whitney’s size, pitch mix and overall potential and believe he has the toolset to be a starting pitcher in pro ball.

“This season, my control has been a big strength of mine,” Whitney said. “Another big thing is I do a really good job of hiding the ball behind my body. Hitters see the ball late, and with the velocity, I think the ball gets on them quicker than a pitch from a pitcher that doesn’t throw as hard would.”

Whitney boasts a ton of potential. Scouts rave about his upside if Whitney matures and refines his skill set. 

One area Whitney remains focused on improving is his changeup. Right now, his split-changeup flashes potential, but it is an area he wants to refine. He wants to develop more consistency and confidence in the changeup. He sometimes tries to be too fine with his changeup and aim it. When he does that, his changeup isn’t as effective as if he just gripped it and threw it like a fastball. 

“I don’t throw it too much,” Whitney said. “It’s still in the development stage with getting comfortable with grip and release point. That is my biggest focus right now is trying to develop the changeup because it will give me a huge advantage.”

Whitney has made notable strides throughout his career at Blackfoot High School. He describes himself as a late bloomer, as he was 5-foot-8 and 130 pounds as a freshman. The physical strides have aided him on the mound. It helped him generate recruiting interest and eventually draft attention.

Whitney didn’t do many big showcase events throughout high school. Instead, he spent the summers playing with his American Legion baseball team, the Idaho Falls Bandits. He credits the team’s coach, Ryan Alexander, with helping him develop into a top prospect with a bright future ahead, regardless of whether he jumps straight into pro ball or honors his college commitment.

Besides his status as a top draft prospect, Whitney is an Oregon State commit. Oregon State is a premier program in college baseball with a track record of national success and producing talent for pro ball. 

“I loved the place. They’re not all about their facilities or all the gear. That’s what I love about it, and that’s what makes them special,” Whitney said. “They’re there and want you to come because you want to come. They don’t want you to come because of what they have. They want people to come to win national championships, and that’s exactly the mentality I have. That played a big part, and the coaches were so down to earth. I felt so at home and knew there was no other place I wanted to be.”

Read more in-depth stories on top 2024 MLB draft prospects at Baseball Prospect Journal.

Video of Dax Whitney.

Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for nine years. He has interviewed 518 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski IIIhttp://BaseballProspectJournal.com
Dan Zielinski III is the creator of the Baseball Prospect Journal and has covered the MLB draft since 2015. His draft work originally appeared on The3rdManIn.com, a sports website he started in December 2011. He also covered the Milwaukee Brewers as a member of the credentialed media for four years. Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

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