A continuing look at the Rangers 40-man roster.
Eli White was drafted in the twenty-sixth round by the Reds in 2013, chose to go to Clemson, then was drafted in the thirty-seventh round by the Pirates in 2015, chose to stay at Clemson, then was drafted in the eleventh round in 2016 by the Athletics.
Two years later he was traded to the Rangers as part of their three-team deal with Oakland and Tampa Bay.
One season after being an All-Star with Oakland’s Double-A Midland team, where he played second, third, and short, as well as a few starts in center, the twenty-six-year-old spent his first season with the Rangers organization in Triple-A Nashville. His offensive numbers dipped.
But with nowhere to play due to the minor leagues being shut down by the pandemic, the Rangers promoted him to the major leagues in 2020 in September. White got into nineteen games, starting fifteen, almost exclusively in left, with one game each in right and center.
He started his major league career slowly, going 0-for-his first-15, finally getting a his first major league hit in his eighth major league game.
White seemed to get the monkey off his back, going 9-for-32, good for a .281 average, the rest of the way, though with only a .302 on-base percentage. All in all, he totally lacked production, with zero home runs and just three runs batted in. He was not what one would consider an offensive force in 2020.
The 2021 season will be huge for Eli White. Can he hit enough to stick around? And if he does stick around, where will it be? With his versatility, he can be a super-utility guy like Danny Santana was in 2019, filling it pretty much anywhere but catcher and pitcher. The challenge is, the Rangers have a logjam in the outfield. And they are stacked deep in the middle-infield as well.
White’s bat will determine if that’s an issue Chris Woodward has to deal with this upcoming season.