Texas Rangers: Eli White Ready to Be Next Great Utility Player

GOODYEAR, AZ - FEBRUARY 25: Pinch runner Mark Mathias #81 of the Cleveland Indians is forced out at second base as Eli White #80 of the Texas Rangers turns a double play during the fourth inning of a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on February 25, 2019 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
GOODYEAR, AZ - FEBRUARY 25: Pinch runner Mark Mathias #81 of the Cleveland Indians is forced out at second base as Eli White #80 of the Texas Rangers turns a double play during the fourth inning of a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on February 25, 2019 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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The Texas Rangers have had a solid string of good utility players coming through the system and Eli White is ready to take that mantle in Arlington.

In recent memory, the Texas Rangers have had a solid string of utility players featuring for the big league club in Arlington. This season they’ve been fortunate enough to sign two, Logan Forsythe and Danny Santana. Last season Isiah Kiner-Falefa broke onto the scene and played nearly every day in a variety of positions. Beyond that, Texas has seemed to have a guy or two each year who can help fill in as needed, as often as needed for the club. In Eli White, the Rangers seemingly have their next super-utility man waiting in the wings and what better day to feature White than on his 25th birthday.

The Texas Rangers acquired Eli White back in December of 2018 as a part of the three-team deal that saw Jurickson Profar head to Oakland and netted Texas a slew of prospects. White, at the time, had made his mark as an above-average prospect consistently performing in the A’s minor league system. When Texas got him, White was fresh off a breakout 2018 campaign with Oakland’s Double-A affiliate Midland playing in 130 games, posting a .306 BA and an .838 OPS. Upon joining the system, he slotted in as the 12th ranked prospect in the Rangers’ system according to MLB Prospect Watch and currently sits at 16th in the most recent rankings.

In 2019, his first year in the Rangers’ organization, White joined Triple-A Nashville and has enjoyed another impressive season. His average has dropped compared to his Double-A time but he’s been impressive nonetheless. Through 71 games for the Sounds, White has a .265 BA and an .801 OPS that has made him a core player on that Nashville squad.

But the bat isn’t what impresses about Eli White the most. Rather, it’s his defensive versatility. White entered the pro game after a successful career as a shortstop at Clemson. He played shortstop in his first year in the A’s organization between the Rookie ball and Low-A levels. In 2017 though, he started getting some time in the outfield alongside his natural spot at short. His true utility potential took shape at the Double-A level spending 66 games at 2B, 42 games at SS, 19 games at 3B and 3 games in CF. The Rangers no doubt found this appealing when he became a part of the Profar deal and have worked him at various positions. For Nashville, White has played 58 games at short and 11 games in CF.

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There’s still development to be had defensively and his physical tools raise some question marks about sticking at shortstop. But he’s been able to transition back to that spot in 2019 and has exceeded basic expectations in the outfield. Because he’s a solid offensive player, MLB Prospect Watch lobs an interesting player comparison for Eli White in Dodgers’ utility-man Chris Taylor.

He’s a polished player which indicates that he could be ready for the big leagues soon. Unfortunately, he’s stuck behind two impressive super-utility players in Danny Santana and Logan Forsythe who are enjoying massive seasons for Texas. That, combined with the logjam in the outfield mean that White likely will spend most of the remainder of 2019 in Triple-A. The best scenario for him is for the Rangers to go into sell-mode and deal some of the players blocking him from the bigs.

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