Tyler White, the Houston Astros’ rookie first baseman, is exactly what the Stros needed at first base in 2016. After watching Chris Carter’s nightmare of a hitting approach, or lack thereof, White is a welcome commodity on both sides of the ball. For a first baseman at 5’11”, 225, he looks undersized for the position, but after hearing the sound the bat makes when he makes contact, there is no mistaking his power: he put one into the nose bleeds, left of the left field foul at Minute Maid last night. For the sake of perspective, I had season tickets there for two years, and I never had a ball come near me.
Moreover, the guy is an athlete. With the likes of Anthony Rizzo, Paul Goldschmidt, and Joey Votto dominating first base, the days of immobile, lumbering giants like Prince Fielder and Adam Dunn seem to be coming to a close. In a nutshell, White’s stance and strength might remind Stros fans of his teammate Evan Gattis, with much more contact potential, and he very well could be the best defensive first baseman Houston has seen since Jeff Bagwell.
White looks to be the first of the next generation of prototypical first baseman. If that’s the case, the Astros could move AJ Reed, a 6’4″, 275 pound behemoth who hit .340 with 34 jacks between AA and A last year. A big left handed batting first baseman could be an attractive piece for the Yankees, who need to replace Mark Texaria sooner than later. This could yield a big arm or a replacement for Luis Valbuena at third base.
However they about it, the Astros are sitting pretty in 2016.