Evan White has been passionate about the game of baseball ever since he was young. His father played college baseball and his grandfather and uncle both played professionally in the Cincinnati Reds organization.
Coming from a family experienced in the game, White recalls home videos of he and his father playing catch together at a young age. Looking back at his development as a baseball player, White said his family has made a major impact on his success.
“Growing up, I got to learn from those guys,” White said. “It was always fun. There was always something I wanted to do. Go in the backyard, throw, take ground balls and hit. They were always willing to help me. They’ve been huge with my success. They’re always here to support me.”
A junior first baseman at the University of Kentucky, White is one of the top college position players and has a shot to play professional baseball this June. Baseball America ranks White as the 33rd-best college prospect in the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft class.
“That’s been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember,” said White about pro baseball. “To get drafted and work my way to the big leagues.
“But, it’s a day-by-day game. You have to take it one pitch at a time. If you start focusing on the outside things, it’s going to affect your game. Not trying to do too much and just have fun.”
Some pro scouts view White as an outfielder in professional baseball due to his athleticism. While he spent some time in the outfield with Team USA last summer and made one start in centerfield with Kentucky in 2016, he hasn’t consistently played in the outfield since high school.
But, White is willing to play any position a team asks him to.
“I have more experience over there, and honestly, I have more confidence over there,” said White about playing first base. “But, I feel like baseball is a game of reps. If I get in the outfield, I think I can be good out there. It’s going to have to play itself out, and I’m not going to worry about it too much.”
White, who throws left-handed and bats right-handed, won a gold glove for his defense at first base in 2016. He also made an impact with the bat for Kentucky, hitting .376 with five home runs, 40 RBIs, three triples and 10 stolen bases last season.
“I feel like there’s multiple ways offensively I can help the team out,” White said. “I’m starting to drive the ball out of the ballpark a little more. But, I can also get on base, drop down a bunt and drive guys in.”
He’s made it a priority to square up more pitches this season, in hopes of displaying better power numbers.
“I feel like my approach has been good this season,” White said. “I’m not trying to do too much. When the pitcher makes a mistakes, I feel like I’ve taken advantage of it. That’s something I want to continue to improve on and be consistent on.”
Battling a hamstring injury, White has only appeared in nine games for Kentucky this spring. But, when he’s been on the field, he’s destroyed the ball, hitting .433 with three home runs and seven RBIs.
Not focused on his personal success, White’s No. 1 goal is to help Kentucky make a deep run in postseason play this season.
“If you set numbers for yourself you are worried about those, instead of having good at-bats,” White said. “The only goals I’ve set for myself is to help this team win a championship. Help this team make a run in the tournament. We want to win it. It’s something Kentucky has never done.”
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