Tommy White drilled a first-pitch hanging breaking ball for a two-run home run to lead LSU past Wake Forest, 2-0, in 11 innings in the College World Series semifinals in June. The home run allowed LSU to advance to the championship series in Omaha, Nebraska.
White was one of the best hitters in college baseball as a sophomore last year. His walk-off home run was a highlight in a monumental season for the third baseman, who played a valuable role in LSU capturing the national title.
Last year marked White’s first year at LSU after transferring from North Carolina State. He showed a refined skill set and thrived against elite college pitching as a dangerous piece in the Tigers’ lineup.
This spring, White enters his junior season as a must-watch player in what likely will be his final year of college baseball. Scouts project White as a potential top-10 pick in the 2024 MLB draft. It marks the second time White has gone through the draft process after generating interest as a high school senior at IMG Academy in 2021.
“Going through the experience in high school has shown me that I did make the right decision going to college and to take it slow and not worry about the outside talk,” White said. “I did that a little during my senior year of high school, and I had a pretty good year but not the year I was hoping for. Just taking it slow and not worrying about anything you can’t control is a big thing when you go through this process.”
In his first two years, White has gained the nickname “Tommy Tanks” due to his notable ability to hit home runs. After tallying five home runs during his senior year of high school, White hit that many in his first week of college baseball in 2022.
As a freshman at North Carolina State, White hit .362 with 12 doubles, 27 home runs and 74 RBIs in 235 at-bats. He transferred to LSU after the season and was a key figure in its lineup last season. He posted a .374 average with 24 doubles, 24 home runs and 105 RBIs in 273 at-bats.
White is a 6-foot-2, 242-pound right-handed hitting third baseman known for his power-hitting ability. He has extremely quick wrists and a loose operation that allows him to hit for contact and elite raw power while having a proven ability to drive the ball to all fields with authority.
White has worked on refining his approach, especially with two strikes, and credits his improvements his sophomore year to a better mentality at the plate.
“Right now, it’s not only the ability to hit for power but also the ability to hit for average, which is my biggest strength,” White said. “That is very important in my game. I don’t like to strike out. I don’t like to get out in general. Me having the two-strike approach and wanting to put the ball in play and make things happen are my biggest strengths right now.”
Defensively, White is LSU’s starting third baseman and has experience playing first base during his college career. White boasts above-average arm strength and respectable athleticism.
White has gained confidence in his ability to play third base over the last year. He continues to work on his defensive skills, hoping to remain at third base in pro ball.
“I want to have more range left and right,” White said. “My glove does really well over there, and my arm is no problem. I just need to slow the game down to read the ball and make the play.”
Last year, LSU had the most talented roster in college baseball. They had 13 players selected in the 2023 draft, including right-hander Paul Skenes and outfielder Dylan Crews, who went first and second overall, respectively.
LSU entered last year as the consensus No. 1 team. They met those expectations, capturing the program’s seventh national title and finishing with a 54-17 record.
Despite losing plenty of talent from last year’s team, the Tigers have national title expectations again this season. White is the Tigers’ best player and will lead a quality offense. They also boast an extremely talented and deep pitching staff, with multiple players projected to go in the early rounds of the 2024 draft.
White is embracing the leadership role as he enters his junior season. “LSU is the best thing to happen” to White, and he hopes to post a memorable season this spring, he said.
“We are just going to have to play one pitch at a time,” White said. “It’s a long season, and we can look towards the end but focus on each day. This team is very, very good and very, very talented. If we take it slow, we will be in the right spot.”
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.