Prospects on Deck: RHP Colby White – Rays
Colby “Night Night” White is striking out hitters at an alarming pace.
The Tampa Bay Rays have quite a history drafting and developing pitchers. Their scouting department comes through time and time again, making them a solid contender on a limited budget. They have one of the best farm systems in all of baseball which includes names like Wander Franco (MLB’s #1 Prospect), Vidal Brujan, Brendan McKay, Shane McClanahan, Xavier Edwards, and Shane Baz. All of them are in MLB’s Top 100 Prospects. Even with all the scouting reports and expert analysis, their seems to always be a player that gets overlooked. A player that produces numbers in spite of that. A player that sneaks in to the major leagues or onto a top prospect list without anyone noticing. That player just might be Colby White.
Colby White was the Tampa Bay Rays sixth round selection in 2019 by way of Mississippi State. Prior to his one season with the Bulldogs, White spent his first two collegiate years playing for the Pearl River Community College Wildcats in Mississippi. He was a former First Team All-Mississippi Association of Community and Junior College player, and helped lead the Wildcats to a MACJC title in 2018. The summer before attending Mississippi State, White played in the Cape Cod League, the most notable of all summer collegiate leagues, for the Cotuit Kettleers appearing in three games. He earned the nickname “Night Night” because when he entered a game he put batters to bed. At an even six-feet and 190 pounds, White is not exactly an imposing figure on the mound, until he reaches back and blows a 97-mph fastball past a batter. He has a similar build and delivery as Francisco Rodriguez, and the Rays can only hope he will have a similar career. By the way this season is going with the Charleston RiverDogs, there is a chance that we will be able to find out sooner rather than later.
After signing with the Rays, White began his professional career with the Hudson Valley Renegades, in the now defunct New York-Penn League. He appeared in fifteen games, all relief appearances, collecting one save while finishing six games. In his nineteen innings of work, White struck out 29 but walked 16. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly did no favors to minor league players since the 2020 season was lost. However for Colby White, something has changed. He has burst out of the gates in 2021 as a completely different pitcher.
Playing for the Charleston RiverDogs the Low-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays in the newly re-vamped minor leagues, White has been nothing short of dominant. He has appeared in eleven games collecting four saves. He has faced 60 batters in his 16.1 innings and struck out 36 (60%) of them which is a 19.8 K/9. He ranks in the top 10 in strikeouts for the league despite pitching ten fewer innings than most of the pitchers ahead of him, and at most times he has looked like a men among boys. In his last outing on June 8th against the Columbia Fireflies (Kansas City Royals), White was a foul ball away from an immaculate inning. He threw ten pitches in the outing (all strikes) and struck out the side. He has yet to give up an earned run this season and has not allowed a hit in his last five outings. One of the most impressive statistics, aside from the strikeouts, is the one walk allowed so far. It came in his first outing of the season and has not issued another one since. It will be interesting to see if he can continue this pace as the season progresses given that he has not pitched that much in his career. He has been the most used pitcher for Charleston and is tied for the lead in Low-A East for appearances so far this season.
It is hard to say when Colby White will be ready for the major leagues. Prospects progress is anyone’s guess at this point due to the lost season last year. White is someone that everyone in baseball needs to take notice of. His body of work this season speaks for itself. You can be assured that once the bullpen gate opens and the opposing hitters catch a glimpse of his Tampa Bay Rays blue glove, they will know it is time to go night night!