Washington Nationals Prospect Spotlight: T.J. White
MLB Pipeline released its top-30 prospect list for the Washington Nationals today, and the player who made the most significant jump was T.J. White. This week, the Prospect Spotlight series turns its focus to now a 10th-ranked prospect in the Nationals minor league system.
Signed at just 17 years old from Dorman High School, South Carolina, Treylen "T.J." White showed extreme upside before the 2021 Draft. A switch-hitter with raw power on both sides of the plate was enough for the Nats to select him in the fifth round, and White chose to sign instead of honoring his commitment to Indiana. According to mlb.com, the Nationals offered White an above-slot value $400,000 signing bonus. The front office saw potential in White, and it's coming to fruition.
T.J. White stands at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, and has average-to-above-average speed. He stole eight bases in 2022, so he's not slow, but that's not enough to make a defense plan around your speed. T.J.'s main skill is his power, hitting 11 home runs last season for Single-A Fredericksburg. Not to mention that White was one of the youngest players in the minor leagues in 2022, just one of four players age-18 or under. T.J. competed with players possibly five years older than him and hit .258 with 11 home runs and 52 RBIs, according to baseball-reference.com.
The strikeout rate is a bit concerning for White, at 27.2 percent in 2022. According to mlb.com, White decreased his swing-and-miss rate to 22 percent over the final two months. An 18-year-old adjusting mid-season to his first time seeing professional pitching is a rarity. Overall, the first professional season was a glaring success for White.
Many scouts have White moving to a first base or designated hitter due to the number of outfield prospects in Washington's organization. T.J. doesn't possess the speed that players like Elijah Green, James Wood, or Jeremy De La Rosa do. White has the bat skills to force his way into a lineup, so finding a role at first base or designated hitter is a likely scenario.
The bottom line is that T.J. White has 25 home runs per season potential. The kid is an absolute stud. Being 18 years old in professional baseball is no easy task, let alone having a productive season. He's still got a ways to go in his development, but he's on the right path. Entering his age 19-season, I would like to see him cut his strikeout rate. White walked 44 times last season, showing discipline at the plate. It would be feasible for him to cut his strikeouts due to his strong eye at the plate. His swing-and-miss rate is due to taking big swings at the dish. As young players mature, they better understand the strike zone and how pitchers are looking to attack them. White should have no problem decreasing his strikeout rate and developing into a future piece for Washington.
My 2023 stat line prediction for T.J. White is as follows; .274 average, 16 home runs, 68 RBIs, and ten stolen bases. I personally think the steady development continues for White and sees action in AA Harrisburg.
Major League ETA
2026 is a comfortable timeline to expect T.J. White in a Nationals uniform. That would make him 22 years old with four seasons of development in the minor leagues. 2025 can be the debut season for White if he continues his fast rise. The arrival of White to the Major Leagues also depends on other prospects. The outfield could be crowded in D.C. in 2025 and may force T.J. into the previously mentioned first base or designated hitter role.
Above all else, White's arrival time in D.C. is dependent on his development. It's obvious what the 19-year-old needs to improve on heading into his second season in the minor leagues. The 2022 season gave White an 11-spot jump in the Nationals' Top-30 prospect list. What does 2023 have in store for T.J.?