After being drafted in the first round (15th overall) by the Cleveland Indians in the 2009 June Amateur Draft, pitcher Alex White is set to make his debut on Saturday against the Detroit Tigers.
This move was prompted by the injury to Carlos Carrasco, who will spend some time on the DL. Starter Mitch Talbot was also placed on the DL, prompting the organization to promote Jeanmar Gomez to the parent club last week.
While Carrasco's injury is not being considered to severe, Talbot's, on the other hand, has been. While no official timeline has been given, it should certainly be longer than two weeks. Depending on the performances of White and Gomez, one could be sticking with the Tribe a little longer than the other.
The former University of North Carolina Tarheel has pitched in 30 professional ball games to date, spending the 2010 season with the affiliate Kinston Indians (high-A) and the Akron Aeros (AA). He has seen action this season with the AAA Columbus Clippers.
He was the organization's 2010 Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
White was invited to Spring Training this season. While he did not perform perhaps as well as some had hoped (0-1, 10.80 ERA in three appearances), it is clear that White has worked at least some the kinks out in the early-goings of the 2011 season. As skipper Manny Acta said in a recent interview, he has confidence in the young hurler:
"In spring training it's hard to judge people," said Acta. "You could see the poise and maturity level he had. His slider has improved in Triple A. His secondary pitches are still a work in progress. But he's pitching well."
So far, he has started four games and compiled a 1-0 record. Despite only earning one decision, he boasts an ERA of 1.90, a WHIP of 1.01 and a 10.6 K/9 rate.
White's numbers have improved nearly across the board while spending the young season with the Clippers. His strikeout numbers are up, and his walk rate is much lower (he is issuing almost a full walk less per nine innings than he did last season).
The 22-year old right-hander will bring his overbearing fastball, as well as his improving slider and splitter, to Progressive Field on Saturday to square off against the Tigers' Rick Porcello. Porcello has a 1-2 mark this season with a 4.76 ERA.
The series will be yet another important one, with the AL Central foes battling it out for position in the young season. A solid debut from White could put an exclamation point on the already exciting season for the Cleveland Indians.